The Reno City Council unanimously voted to move forward with the introduction of a possible new motel inspection program.   

It all started with the Mayor's "blight buster initiative" several years back. Since plenty of older motels around town contributed to that, code enforcement started working on the effort to clean them up and also benefit those who are living in them long term.

Alex Woodley, Code Enforcement Manager says, "The incentive here is to make sure that their units are safe and clean and are actually livable.” The program will initiate annual inspections of all motels in town, that's about 65 buildings according to Woodley.

Each unit will be inspected by Code Enforcement in partnership with Reno Police Department as well as the Fire Department. They will be checking every single unit for adequate electricity, smoke detectors, heat and water and signs of infestation among other health and safety measures.

Motel owners will see higher business license fees to help cover the cost of this program which will cost about $400,000. Initially, motel owners were concerned with this fee hike since the program proposed they pay $100 per unit, for that license.

After discussion between the city and the motel owners, the fee was lowered. There did not appear to be much opposition to the cost at Wednesday's council meeting where the program was discussed. Woodley says, "The motel owners are currently paying $5 to $10 per unit, so they're seeing a significant increase from that--to the $50."

While the license fees will bring in about $150,000 annually, the rest of the program costs will come from the city's general fund. 

Those who don't pass the inspection will first be given a warning, then a citation if the issue is not fixed in time or they have additional violations. 

Code Enforcement will present the official ordinance to council next month for possible adoption.