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Wausau considers new blight rules for rental properties

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) – Wausau held the first of three public hearings Monday night on new recommendations meant to help clean up blighted neighborhoods in the city.

A code enforcement task force has drafted the recommendations over the last year. They include hiring another property inspector, charging a re-inspection fee for properties that inspectors visit more than three times and creating a definition of tenant and landlord responsibilities.

“What we need to do is not make it so restrictive that they can't function within what we're offering, but actually help us find a solution that's more palatable for everybody that still works,” said task force and City Council member Lisa Rasmussen.

“I'm not sure that adding additional layers to this or making it stricter is the solution,” said landlord Dick Holster. He said it's difficult to create and enforce regulations when tenants, landlords and city officials all have different definitions of blight.

Others who attended the hearing said the city could do a better job communicating with landlords about police activities at their properties. At least two landlords suggested having inspectors meet with tenants to explain code violations.

The city will hold two more public hearings before it uses the feedback to draft a final set of regulations for City Council approval. The other hearings are June 14th at the Wausau police department and June 21st at City Hall.

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