The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

New Laws May Be Put On The Books For City of La Harpe

The La Harpe Quill-Sept. 14

The La Harpe City Council discussed a draft ordinance dealing with nuisance and unsafe buildings at their regular board meeting Monday evening.

The council has spent several months discussing what to do with buildings that are falling down or in a general state of disrepair that may make them unsafe for residents.

City Attorney Kurt Dittmer said the ordinance does not obligate the city to take any action against a private building owner. It simply allows the city to take action if it wants to.

The ordinance specifies fines for violations of between $50 and $500 per day. If the fines are not paid, the city can take the building's owner to court.

The city would need to have a contractor look at the building and pronounce it unsafe or structurally damaged to the point of being unsalvageable. The city could then hire someone to repair the building or have the structure demolished. A lien can be placed against the property to try to recover the costs.

"I think we need this," said council member Kenneth Foster. "There are cities smaller than we are around here that have something like this."

The ordinance was tabled until the Sept. 28 meeting.

City Clerk Lucretia McPeak said the city has not received any Motor Fuel Tax payments for the past two months due to the state's budget impasse. She said the council should not expect to see any more payments until the state passes a budget.

Street Superintendent Wayne Humphrey was given $700 to finish work on street repairs for the summer. This brings the total amount of Motor Fuel Tax funds spent on street repairs this summer to $4,700.

The fall citywide cleanup day is Friday, Oct. 16.

The next city supervisor's meeting is Oct. 1.

Council member Darrell Kraft is opening the garage bay on the ground floor of city hall on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 5 p.m., so contractors can look at it to help prepare a bid to remodel it as the new council meeting room. The project was not budgeted into this year's fiscal budget. The earliest it can be started is May 1, 2016.

Water Superintendent Tim Graves said he sent a test sample of the city's water to Springfield. The sample is supposed to be read on Sept. 22. The city authorized the sample test to gauge how well action taken to reduce the level of Total Haloacetic Acid in the city's water supply is progressing. The official IEPA water sample test takes place between October and December.

Graves was given approval to buy a new sump pump and dehumidifier for a total cost of $450. He also reported that a new starter box was installed at the water plant at the reservoir.

The city is losing a police officer at the end of the month. Police Chief Justin Livingston said he would like to hire two part-time officers to pair with himself and full time police officer Dean Spangler. Livingston said he has a few names of potential candidates.

The city approved paying $350 to Ryan Tessen for mowing.

Present at the meeting were Mayor Ryan Kienast Treasurer-Marcia Neff, City Clerk-Lucretia McPeak and council members Darrell Kraft, Amy Palmer, Josiah Neff, Dave Mershon, and Kenneth Foster. Marcia Stiller was absent.

Also present were: Juston Livinston, David Little, Kurt Dittmer, Tim Graves, Minnie Cardenas Toto, Marcos Cardenas Toto, Wayne Humphrey,Dan Gillett, and Doug Endres.