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Clarity Made in an Amendment to La Harpe's Nuisance Ordinance

The La Harpe City Council approved an amended nuisance ordinance to clarify using city workers for mowing properties in violation of the nuisance ordinance.

The new amended ordinance clarifies that the city council can use either city workers or a third party contactor to have properties mowed if they are in violation of the nuisance ordinance with grass over eight inches tall.

If the city wants a city worker to mow a property, it must be approved by two council members or one council member and the mayor.

If the city wants to use a third party contractor to mow a property, the full council must approve the expenditure.

After the vote was taken, the council verbally agreed with a proposal by council member Darrell Kraft to get two bids for mowing by a contractor.

The council passed an unsafe and dilapidated buildings ordinance. The ordinance allows the council to have City Attorney Kurt Dittmer issue notifications to building owners to repair their property or face possible fines as set forth by state statutes. The city has the discretion to impose the fines or hold off on them if the owner is making progress on building repairs or demolition.

The approval vote was 5-1, with council member Josiah Neff casting the "no" vote. Neff said he had concerns with where to start the process and how to address all the possible buildings that are unsafe.

Police Chief Justin Livingston said he is interviewing one part-time police officer candidate and is looking at another one. He hopes to have two part-time police officers hired in early October.

The council approved not spending any money to buy new curb stops to place at the end of parking spots at the city park. Livingston said he did not believe they were necessary. He said automobiles pulling onto Rt. 9 or off Rt. 9 through the parking spaces were legal. He said the people with larger trucks would likely drive over the curb stops and break them as they had done before.

Council member Marcia Stiller pointed out that the curb stops were tripping hazards for the people attending the Farmers' Markets. She also said it was easier to remove snow without the curb stops.

Neff cast the lone "no" vote. He said he had safety concerns due to the lack of curb stops.

Water Superintendent Tim Graves said the extra water sample sent to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency came back with significantly reduced levels of Total Haloacetic Acid. The city has an official water sample due in October. The IEPA takes the latest four quarters of tests to determine if the city is in compliance for Total Haloacetic Acid level. Graves said there was no guarantee the October test would be as low as the September sample.

The fall citywide cleanup is Oct. 16.

The next city supervisor meeting is Oct. 1.

The council heard that the winter LP gas contract with ChemGro was for $2,560 for 2,000 gallons of gas. This is for delivery through March 31, 2016. This is a slightly lower price than last year for the same amount of LP gas.

The city spent $790 on a new computer and monitor from CCS Computers to use for water bill collection records. CCS Computers told the city that the program used for the water bills had been problematic on the past two updates. It is likely the city will need to switch programs at some point.

The council tabled action on a cemetery cleanup ordinance until the Oct.12 meeting. They also plan to take action on setting a trick or treat date and time.

Present at the meeting was Mayor Ryan Kienast and council members Darrell Kraft, Dave Mershon, Amy Palmer, Marcia Stiller, Kenneth Foster, and Josiah Neff, Clerk Lucretia McPeak, Treasurer Marcia Neff. Also Kurt Dittmer, tim Graves, Minnie Cardenas Toto, Marcos Cardenas Toto, Christy Kienast, Dan Gillett, Doug Endres, and Justin Livingston.