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Drug dealers not welcome tenants in Sunbury

If you're a convicted drug dealer looking to rent a home in Sunbury, you might want to look somewhere else.

SUNBURY, Pa. — In Sunbury, the city council plans to crack down on convicted drug dealers looking to rent a home.

About 60 percent of properties in Sunbury are rentals. Sunbury City Council is looking to revamp several ordinances that would create new guidelines for renters. One of those ordinances has to do with renting to convicted drug dealers.

In 2012, council passed an ordinance banning convicted drug dealers from renting property in Sunbury. The ordinance has never been enforced.

"I think it's an excellent idea," said Steven Mowery, who owns five rental properties in Sunbury.

Mowery thinks enforcing the ordinance is smart.

"I just want to do what I can do to rid the streets of crime," Mowery said.

Currently, the ordinance bans convicted drug dealers from renting in Sunbury for at least seven years.

Many people we spoke with are in favor of this.

"I just think that they should do a deeper background check, so that way, the city could be cleaner of less violence and less criminal activity," Barb Wolfe said.

Not everyone is in favor of enforcing the ordinance, saying it wouldn't be fair.

"Let's give somebody a chance. You've got a lot of people who are homeless," Joel Currie said.

Currie knows someone who was turned away from living in Sunbury because of felony charges. He says that person turned their life around.

"Don't punish someone for something they did because of what happened in the past. You don't need to base it on the future because they changed," Currie said.

City Administrator Derrick Backer says this is one of many ordinances that council will discuss.

"Sunbury Council's primary concern is the well-being of its citizens. Priority number one has been and always will be the safety of its residents and visitors," Backer said.

Sunbury City Council meets next Monday, September 26.

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