The City Commission of Arkansas City passed a pair of ordinances Oct. 2 that will allow the city to levy special assessments on properties.
The passage of these agenda items will allow the city to officially charge property owners for work the city has had to do on their properties.
The first item was for any mowing or weed trimming the city has had to do on properties that have had tall-grass complaints filed against them.
The process the city uses to address these complaints includes contacting the resident and also the owner, if the property is a rental home.
The city waits until the tall grass reaches 12 inches or higher before attempting to contact these individuals, according to Mike Bellis, who serves as the city’s code enforcement officer and building official. If contact is unsuccessful, the city usually pays to have the property mowed.
The dollar amount the city has paid out for mowing and not been reimbursed for totals $49,330.
The second item addressed the unpaid costs of refuse removal and abatement from yards.
Some of the properties on the first list also were on this list. The total dollar amount attached to this ordinance was $4,136.05.
A related item was the approval of a certificate of special assessment for costs paid by the city in demolishing unsafe or dangerous structures.
Prior to the demolitions, code enforcement officers tried to contact and work with the owners.
In one instance, a structure had to be demolished without going through the usual process due to its decaying stability, an imminent danger.
Eight structures have been torn down since July 1, 2017, at a cost to the city of $59,918.
The passage of these items will allow the city to attempt to recoup costs that have already been spent out of the budget, either through assessments on property taxes or, after one year of unpaid taxes, other means such as state set-off or legal collection.
All three items passed unanimously.
In other business, the commission:
- heard from citizen Brian Sanderholm regarding his concerns about Summit Street repairs north of Kansas Avenue, increased semi tractor-trailer traffic within the city limits and tall grass located throughout the town.
- unanimously approved the consent agenda, consisting of the Sept. 18 minutes and a single personnel policy update.
- issued a pair of proclamations declaring October 2018 as Community Planning Month and Oct. 7-13 as Fire Prevention Week in Ark City.
- unanimously approved an ordinance authorizing the rezoning of 207 N. Fifth St. from Public Use District to High-Density Residential District. The change will enable Habitat for Humanity to build its next home on the property, west of Frances Willard Elementary School.
- heard updates from City Manager Nick Hernandez regarding National Night Out, Fall Cleanup Day, Citywide Pickup Week and an employee appreciation breakfast, as well as the next regular meeting of the Traffic Safety Committee on Oct. 12.