Budget talks are set to start in a month, and the subject of enforcing the town’s bylaws will be on the docket.
Niagara-on-the-Lake council will be reviewing budget proposals in September and Coun. Maria Mavridis is looking to make sure that an additional bylaw officer is part of the discussion.
One reason Mavridis gave for her advocacy of additional bylaw enforcement was because of the town’s ongoing issue with short-term rentals.
At a council meeting on July 25, Mavridis pointed out that the town only has one bylaw officer to manage and respond to complaints about short-term rentals and would benefit from a second officer.
Coun. Wendy Cheropita countered that the town is handing out fewer tickets and receiving fewer complaints this year relative to last year.
She said ever since the town contracted Granicus to monitor advertising platforms like Airbnb for illegal operators, the town has had fewer issues.
“I don’t see the justification for bringing in more staff when our numbers are going down,” she said.
Mavridis contested the argument though.
“The metrics are down, but that’s because we don’t have enough officers to go out and compare,” she said.
“We need staff to stay on top of this,” Mavridis said.
O’Connor gave her support to the proposal, but not just to address short-term rental problems.
She said there was a particular need for after-hours enforcement.
Fire chief Jay Plato said when staff assesses the need for an additional bylaw officer, they will also look into solutions for after-hour enforcement issues.