Champaign City Council to discuss apartment inspections

By Eric Heisig

The city of Champaign may be taking additional steps to provide more safety in apartment buildings, but it will come with a price.

On Tuesday night, the Champaign City Council, among other items, is scheduled to consider the new Multifamily Common Area Inspection Program, which is designed to inspect buildings with three or more living units. During the study session, the Council plans to vote whether to move forward with a plan that will speed up the inspection process.

Since the pilot program began in 2006, Neighborhood Services Property Maintenance Inspectors has inspected 447 of the 1,037 apartment buildings in the city of Champaign. During this time, more than 3,000 violations were found, and it has been proposed to make this a permanent program. Violations included large amounts of trash, vandalism, obstructed fire alarms and use of extension cords to share power between dwelling units.

If the program goes through, tenants will be required to pay $12 a unit each year to support it.

Esther Patt, coordinator for the University’s tenant union, said there are a few issues with the proposal. She said the current plan does not require inspections of the interior of individual units.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

“What they are ignoring are the repair problems of the insides of the apartments,” Patt said.

In contrast, Patt said Urbana inspects the inside of apartments, and each unit is only required to pay $10 a year for inspection.

Michael La Due, Dist. 2 Council member, said he has a problem with charging tenants more money for inspections because the cost of student living and tuition in Champaign is too high as it is.

“I wonder why such a simple process would cost $125,000 or $150,000, and what they do with all that money,” La Due said.

The Council will also consider the Capital Improvements Plan, which is designed to fund various improvements around Champaign during a 10-year period. The Council will be looking at the Food and Beverage Tax, originally designed to fund some of the projects, including developing Green Street between Fourth and First streets.

In addition, the city is looking for more revenue for the downtown and streetscape maintenance, including for Green Street, said Renata Matousova, budget officer for the city of Champaign. This includes cleaning, planting new flowers and general upkeep.

“We would like to see if the Council would like to pursue other funding options,” Matousova said. She said that some of the maintenance would be covered by the Food and Beverage Tax but not to the level that the city would like.

The Champaign City Council meets every Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St.