City Council considers repeal of eviction relief

Dec 20, 2011

A provision that offers three months of free rent to evicted mobile park residents in Columbia is now facing a challenge.

Third Ward councilman Gary Kespohl introduced a provision that would repeal the measure at Monday’s city council meeting. Kespohl says he spoke to city attorney Fred Boeckmann about the constitutionality of the provision.

“And Fred checked the state statues and sure enough, it’s unlawful for a city government to dictate a provision of a contract between two private individuals,” Kespohl said.

According to a memo submitted by Boeckmann, the rent measure violates a section of the Missouri Constitution that governs contract obligations.  Sixth Ward councilmember Barbara Hoppe originally proposed the rent provision. She says she plans to investigate the claim that it’s unconstitutional.

“I’ll talk to the city attorney, get whatever cases and references he has. And then I’ll check in case law,” Hoppe said.

Hoppe says she hopes to speak to city councilmembers before the repeal goes up for a final vote next month.