The president of a company that has thousands of apartments, mostly in Berks County, told Mount Joy Township supervisors that their fees for apartment inspections are unreasonable for large apartment complexes where there are economies of scale.
Kevin Timochenko, president of Metropolitan Management Group Inc., told supervisors at their meeting on Monday, Dec. 18, that it took about six hours to get 120 apartments inspected in his Featherton Crossing development. He said he had multiple employees unlocking apartment doors for the inspector, allowing the inspector to complete work in each unit in about three minutes.
“I paid $6,000 for that inspection,” Timochenko said, adding that he believes that the fee was unreasonable for six hours of work. He said he would be OK with paying $200 per hour, but said he might take the township to court if the current fees stand. Timochenko said other municipalities where he does business recognize that large buildings have economies of scale, so they offer lower rates for large apartment complexes.
Supervisor Lisa Sargen Heilner asked Timochenko what rent he was charging; Timochenko said he did not know exactly but it was approximately $800 to $900 a month for one-bedroom units and $1,000 a month or more for two-bedroom units. He said he was not arguing that he cannot afford to pay what the township is charging.
“It’s not a hardship. It’s unfair. … A tax I can’t argue with. A fee has to be reasonable,” Timochenko said.
Supervisors had mixed reactions.
“I think you raise good points,” Supervisor Gerald Cole said.
“I think it’s a reasonable fee,” Heilner said. “If we start to make exceptions, it’s going to open the door.”
Supervisor Gerald Becker told Timochenko that a lower fee for larger landlords would be unfair to a local person who puts up a 10-unit apartment building.
“This is going to put you at a distinct advantage in my opinion,” Becker said.
But Becker also told Timochenko that township supervisors appreciate that his company pays attention to its properties and is not the kind of landlord who allows problem tenants to stay and create nuisances for neighbors and repeated calls to police.
Supervisors agreed to consider action on the matter at their next regular meeting, which is at 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 15, at the new Fairview Municipal Complex, 8853 Elizabethtown Road, Elizabethtown.
In other business, supervisors agreed to a budget for 2018, which includes a revenue-neutral property tax rate. Because of reassessment, some people will be paying more and others less, but the township expects to get the same amount of money in property taxes in 2018 as it got in 2017.