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Discussions surrounding nuisances, the contract for disposal of recycling, and the city budget were the focus of the special meeting of the Mount Ayr city council Monday, February 28.
City administrator Brent Wise explained the city has two options in addressing nuisance complaints.
The first option would entail a series of nuisance abatement notices.
Courtesy letters can be sent to the owners of properties alerting them to a nuisance and asking them to address it.
If nothing is done, a certified letter would be sent to the property owner establishing a deadline to eliminate the nuisance or the city would come in to eliminate it at the owner’s expense. If the owner refuses to pay, a lien would be placed against the property.
The second option would be a municipal infraction which is handled through magistrate court. Infractions can carry fines up to $750 per day until the nuisance is eliminated.
Ringgold County deputy sheriff Chad Hunt was on hand to contribute to the discussion. He stated that he would be available to deliver the certified letters or municipal infractions at the city’s direction.
Wise shared photos of a number of properties that currently have been identified as violating the city nuisances ordinance, some minor and some more serious.
Wise also shared the results from the recent housing survey conducted by Iowa State University.
The results revealed the need for more housing in general, especially affordable middle-income housing.
Further discussion surrounded how to encourage investors to purchase abandoned properties and either renovate them or demolish them and build new structures on the vacant lot. Ideas included zero percent loans and tax abatements, but no concrete action was taken at Monday’s meeting.
The council again addressed the notice received recently from Waste Management that the fee for hauling away the city’s recycling would increase from $11,800 to $13,000.
At their February 14 meeting, the council had balked at the fee increase and asked Wise to negotiate a lower increase.
In response, Waste Management said in an email that the price hike was due to increased hauling expenses, and the current fee would run through March 13, after which date Waste Management would no longer haul the city’s recycling.
The matter will be taken up at the council’s March 7 meeting.
Wise and city clerk Amanda Cannon shared preliminary numbers related to the FY23 city budget.
Wise reviewed expenditures and revenues in each line item and asked council members to brainstorm ways to grow the general fund balance the current estimate of $112,000.
The final budget proposal will be presented at the Monday, March 7 council meeting.