Vowing to "come back in full force" for the second reading of an ordinance reguiring pre-sale inspections of homes, local brokers protested the new requirement at the Bell City Council meeting July 20 when the first reading was held.
The proposed ordinance, similiar to requirements in South Gate and Lynwood, requires city inspectors to examine any property offered for sale to determine if there are zoning or health code violations. It would be up to the seller to correct any violations discovered, whether or not the house is actually sold.
Broker Lupe Valdez told council members that it appeared that Bell passed the ordinance to raise money. "Everyone wants a piece of the pie," she said. Valdez said other cities charge $75 or less for the inspection, while Bell's proposed fee will be $125 or more.
Mayor Jay Price denied that the ordinance was a money-making effort. He told the small audience that other cities are able to subsidize the inspections, but that Bell's limited budget requires the city to charge a fee large enough to meet the city's costs.
The council amended the ordinance to apply it to commercial as well as residential property, and the ordinance passed by a 4-1 vote. Councilman George Mirabal opposed the ordinance, saying that it will probably not be self-supporting and should be considered during upcoming budget discussions.