ST. PAULS — The St. Pauls Board of Commissioners approved new rules Thursday that will require landlords and business owners to provide occupancy and other information to the town, a move intended to improve public safety.
The commissioners with two unanimous votes also put in place rules requiring business owners to provide information that will enable the town to contact the owners and occupants in case of an emergency. For each registration, there is an initial fee of $20 and a $10 re-registration fee each subsequent year.
“The general idea for the landlord registration was that we have rental property and we don’t know who is there,” said J.R. Steigerwald, town administrator. “We don’t know who the owners are. So it helps us if we know who lives there so if we have an emergency, we can call those people and find out what’s going on.”
The new rules require rental property owners to provide the address of the rental unit; the name and address of the owners; the name of the primary emergency contact; an alternate emergency contact; email addresses for electronic notifications and alerts; the names of the occupants; phone numbers of the primary occupant and an alternate occupant; energy sources of any heating, cooling, and cooking equipment; and a statement identifying which party, owner or occupant is responsible for each utility, such as water, sewer, electric, or gas.
The business registration is for the purpose of having access for emergencies, he said.
“If our fire department has to go into a building because there has been fire or smoke, or there’s a fire adjacent to that building, the fire department breaks down that door,” Steigerwald said. “It’s on the owner to fix it. We’d much rather make a phone call and have someone with a key let us in rather than doing $500 worth of damage.”
Businesses will have to register the full legal name of the business, identify the ownership of the business, and the name, email addresses, and phone number of the primary and alternate emergency contacts.
Among the other requirements is a notice of any hazardous or dangerous materials located at the building and a description of the materials and their general location with the business premises.
In other business, the commissioners:
— Were introduced to the newly appointed superintendent of The Public Schools of Robeson County, Thomas Graves, and heard a presentation from educator Ben Chavis on what he sees as problems in the school district. Chavis lobbied the commissioners to help him work to defeat Mike Smith, who represents St. Pauls on the Board of Education for the Public Schools of Robeson County.
— Nominated Commissioner Elbert Gibson to serve on the Lumber River Council of Governments’ Transportation Advisory Committee, with Mayor Gerard J. Weindel serving as backup.
— Tabled action on a rezoning application for mini-warehouses at 1149 W. Broad St.
Reach Terri Ferguson Smith at 910-416-5865.