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The Mount Ayr city council again discussed various nuisance properties at their regular meeting Monday, June 5.
The council learned that more than one local resident is interested in purchasing a property located at 205 South Harrison Street currently owned by Alan Culbertson. One of the interested parties requested the liens against the property be forgiven by the City if it changed ownership.
Mayor Steve Fetty stated that the liens are in place to cover the legal fees incurred by the City of Mount Ayr to tear the prior house down.
Councilmen Brad Elliott stated he feels that the council should be presented a plan to improve the property if liens were to be forgiven.
Superintendent Brent Wise shared that there are actually three lots in that area:
• one lot located at 205 South Harrison was cleaned up by Culbertson and the lot is now clean
• the lot at 207 South Harrison was sold at tax sale and is currently owned by Laura Beerbower
• the lot with the green house at 209 South Harrison Street is also owned by Culbertson and currently sitting vacant.
After considerable discussion, Mayor Steve Fetty stated the council would need more information prior to making any decisions.
The council also approved a building permit to move the manufactured home at 204 Dunning Avenue back approximately 28 feet so that will be almost even with adjacent houses.
A neighbor near the Legacy Hill subdivision had raised a concern about the location of the new home, prompting the City of Mount Ayr to take action. Disagreement between the contractor, the City Superintendent, and the City Board of Adjustments over who was liable for the move, has caused considerable cost to all parties involved. The owners of the property moved back out of state due to frustration in dealing with the issue.
The plot plan provided by Creston Mobile Homes shows the new location of the house sitting 54’ back from the lot line along Dunning Street.
The council also approved a building permit to erect a fence behind the building located at 118 West Adams Street in an effort to establish a boundary between a known nuisance property located directly north of the The Mill. Owner Jamie Miller plans to put up a 4 rail fence to separate her business from the adjacent property.
The building permit also prompted discussion about how best to address the nuisance property that is a fire and safety risk to the public. Superintendent Brent Wise plans to address the issue.
Among other actions taken, the city council:
• approved a resolution awarding construction contracts to the low bidders as part of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Mount Ayr Housing Rehab 21-HSG-013 previously approved by the City.
F&M Carpentry LLC out of Kellerton, IA will be completing construction at the following property addresses:
505 E Adams Street
800 N Taylor Street
304 E Adams Street;
• approved individually set wages and salaries for full-time employees and library employees reflecting a 3% increase for each employee;
• approved a $14.56 hourly wage for one seasonal temporary part-time employee;
• approved a renewal application for Dollar General’s cigarette/tobacco/nicotine/vapor license.
The council also heard a request from Henry Rairden of Kellerton, IA to install lighting along the dam and at the dead end at Loch Ayr Lake for the safety of residents and visitors. Rairden regularly visits the lake to fish and is often there after sunset.
Council members said they would look into options and talk with the sportsman’s club about the request. Rairden was asked to check back in closer to June 16 to see if it will be on the agenda for the next meeting.
Jessica Bishop let the council know that she has fielded several inquires related to the swimming pool. Members of the public are asking when the council is going to take action now that the $2 million bond has been passed.
Steve Fetty noted that since the council is currently deadlocked with 2 council members in favor of moving forward with a plan to construct a new pool at Judge Lewis Park and 2 not in favor, the council needs to wait until the vacant city council seat is filled.
The upcoming special election will be held August 1, 2023 and the newly elected official is expected to be sworn in the next day.
Anyone who is interested in running for the open council seat must pick up an Affidavit of Candidacy and Nomination Petition at City Hall or the Auditor’s Office. The candidate filing deadline is July 7, 2023 with City Hall.
Council members discussed holding a special work session in late August to review options for replacing the swimming pool after the new council member begins their duties.
Brad Elliott shared that he has also been asked if the City of Mount Ayr would pay transportation costs to bus kids to another community for swimming lessons this summer in partnership with the school.
Additional discussion is expected at the next council meeting, Monday, June 19.