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Nuisance properties were once again front and center during discussion at the Monday, April 4 Mount Ayr city council meeting.
City administrator Brent Wise presented to the council a series of photographs of 11 properties within city limits that currently comprise the worse offenders of the city’s nuisance ordinances.
Most of the properties targeted were littered with discarded appliances and miscellaneous scrap and debris. Some included abandoned houses or open foundations.
Erin Hardisty, the recently hired city attorney, was present at Monday’s meeting not only to meet the council but also to provide guidance on how the city should address nuisances.
She recommended alerting property owners via a certified letter that a nuisance has been identified on their property and giving them 30 days to abate the nuisance.
If a good faith effort is made to abate the nuisance, a deadline extension could be negotiated.
No attempt to address the nuisance could result in the issuance of a municipal infraction with civil penalties.
Eventually, the situation could wind up in magistrate court.
Hardisty said she would send the city a series of templates for letters that could be tailored to different nuisance situations.
She recommended notices be sent to all 11 properties highlighted at Monday’s meeting to get the ball rolling toward abating those nuisances.
In a related matter, city resident Brenda Woody appeared before the council to complain about six dogs belonging to her next door neighbor. She said the dogs constantly bark to the point she cannot “go out her back door.”
Prior to providing a legal opinion addressing such incidents, Hardisty said she would need to review all city ordinances. She added, however, one ordinance she had noticed included language dealing with abating annoyances.
In other business, the council:
• approved the hiring of Lynn Rinehart and Scott Myer as part-time city employees. Their primary duties will be mowing of city property not to exceed a combined 50 hours per week.
• set the wage for city recreation director Ranae Stewart at $5,356 for the season running from April 1 to June 30.
• approved a wage scale for the deputy city clerk. The wage for the upcoming fiscal year would be set at 65 percent of city clerk’s salary. The percentage would be increased 5 percent per year until it reached a final level of 80 percent of the clerk’s wage.
• heard a report that water loss following the recent water distribution upgrade project had dropped from 29 percent prior to the project to 7 percent by the end of 2021.
• learned architects with the Downtown Revitalization Project would be visiting business owners surrounding the square to seek their input on what improvements they would like to see implemented.
• learned the final report from the Housing Committee would be delivered near the end of April.