The Community Services Committee of the City of Garland convened in regular session at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 10, 2023, in the Work Session Room, 200 North Fifth Street, Garland, Texas, with the following members:
Deborah Morris, Chair
Margaret Lucht, Council Member
Ed Moore, Council Member
Mikayla Ray, Management Services Coordinator
Kevin Slay, Managing Director
Art Munoz, Animal Services Director
Phillip Urrutia, Assistant City Manager
Brian England, City Attorney
Chris Harris, Property Inspection Program Manager
Lance Polster, Code Compliance Manager
Rick Barker, Code Compliance Director
APPROVAL OF MINUTES FROM THE DECEMBER 6, 2022 MEETING.
After a motion by Moore and a second from Lucht the minutes of the December 6, 2022 meeting were approved unanimously.
DISCUSS RETAIL PET STORE HEALTH INSPECTION RULES
Morris requested that Munoz cover the inspection reports presented to the committee and his recommendations for improving inspection process. Munoz discussed the inspection reports and stated we probably need to increase the number of inspections per year and inform the owners. Lucht asked what was the course of action when we had difficulty or could not get a hold of pet shop owner. Munoz stated it's often a problem because they are typically only open a few hours a week and only bring the pets in when they are open. Morris stated that restaurant scores have a scoring system with a pass fail do your inspections utilize a scoring system. Munoz stated they do not they are strictly a pass or fail, but it is something we can investigate. Morris stated that if we have repeated problems with an owner we should probably increase inspections and include unannounced visits. We should consider three strikes, and you are out policy. Moore stated going out and not finding anyone there seems to be a common occurrence. How do we handle enforcement? Munoz stated it was through issuing a citation. Lucht inquired about the amount of the citation. England stated it was a max fine of $500.00 and a Judge would set the window fine probably around $250.00. Moore stated that it was probably not enough to correct bad behavior. Morris asked England to determine if it would be possible to increase the citation amount. Lucht asked if we stipulated how long a business owner has to resolve an offense if not it might be something for them to consider. Munoz stated that at this time it is at the officer’s discretion. Morris asked Munoz to determine if the retail pet shops also sell products which would make a difference going forward. Munoz stated that he will consider moving to some sort of scoring system, expand the number of inspections and determine if any of the stores sell retail products. Morris asked Munoz to consider adding a timeline for addressing issues, and include unannounced inspections. Morris recommended implementing a scoring system and if an owner fails multiple times within a certain period they should risk losing their permit. The item was tabled until the next meeting.
DISCUSS MULTIFAMILY PROPERTY A/C REQUIREMENTS
Barker provided a recap of the information obtained from other municipalities and Garlands current ordinance. Baker stated there are several areas we should consider changing and provided a copy of a draft ordinance with the proposed changes. England provided an overview of the draft. Lucht asked if tenants purchased window units would they receive reimbursement from the property owners. England stated they would not, but it could be added as a requirement. Morris stated what are the consequences if the management company does not provide A/C units or refrigerated air within the timeframe allowed. England stated it would be a violation of the ordinance and a substantial fine for every unit impacted. Morris asked if there are companies that provide refrigerated air or window units. Barker stated there is actually a company in Garland that provides this sort of service. Morris stated that most other cities do not use the term comfort zone, and I’m not totally comfortable with 81 degrees’ other cities are at 85 degrees. Morris asked what is the purpose of the May 1st through October 1st, and why do we need these dates? Polster stated multifamily owners have to switch between heating and cooling, and they need a set date, most have to schedule these switch overs. Moore and Lucht agreed 85 degrees would be acceptable. Morris inquired about the term window unit and asked if the term could be changed to refrigerated air unit. Morris stated the majority of Garlands apartment community was awesome and the issues we are having only represent a small number. Morris asked England to redraft the proposed ordinance and include the changes suggested. The item was tabled until the next meeting.
There being no further business to come before the committee, Chair Morris adjourned the meeting at 4:49 p.m
Deborah Morris, Chair
Kevin Slay, Staff Liaison
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