Fremont votes over controversial issue - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Fremont votes over controversial issue

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By: Hannah Paczkowski

Voters in Fremont line up as they get ready to cast their vote.

Should the housing portion of the immigration ordinance be amended?

The measure that passed in 2010 prohibits landlords from renting to people who are in the country illegally.

Part of it comes down to an application for occupancy license.

"People need to be able to have some place to stay," voter Barbara Kile said.

Fremont is one of two cities in the United States with an application for occupancy license.

Tuesday, Fremont residents voted 'yes' or 'no'. Yes to remove this portion from the ordinance or no to implement the current ordinance that was voted on in 2010.

This ordinance requires every renter to fill out an application for an occupancy license, then mark if they're in the country legally or illegally. If they fill it out and pay $5, they'll get the license.

"Today's vote is really about whether this is effective for the city of Fremont and the tax payers here. The city council sees this as an ineffective ordinance that's only going to bring on financial liability," city council president Jennifer Bixby said.

A financial liability the city council said they've researched. Farmer's Branch, Texas implemented a similar ordinance. Now, their entire budget goes toward legal fees.

Bixby said Fremont could run into the same trouble and could lose federal housing funding from HUD. It's more than that though, Bixby said this controversial topic is tearing the community apart.

"It's pitted neighbor versus neighbor, friend against friend, we have friends we just don't bring it up to in conversations because it is a passionate issue for everyone," Bixby said.

 City council said they predict this will be a close vote.

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