The City Commission of Arkansas City heard updates Jan. 17 regarding a dangerous structure at 617 S. Fourth St., which was deemed unsafe during the Jan. 3 commission meeting.

The owner of the property is Brett Martin, who was instructed to have the mold issues in the structure addressed by a mold remediation company, which he needed to select prior to the Jan. 17 meeting. Martin also was told he needed to have the remediator call the appropriate city officials before the meeting.

However, Neighborhood Services Superintendent Richard Brown said he was not contacted by a mold remediator, but rather a home inspector from Oklahoma who was certified to assess mold issues. “That’s just one problem … the other problem is 75 percent of the house is in a deteriorated state,” Brown said.

The commission spoke at length with Martin, who disputed Brown’s estimate, claimed the house was not in that bad of shape and said a local contractor had been told he couldn’t work on the home. But Brown said the last accusation was not true.

Several commissioners expressed concern that Martin was not quite comprehending the potential cost of making all of the necessary repairs to the structure.

“It would probably cost you less to move into a new house,” said Commissioner Dan Jurkovich.

“I’m guessing that you’re going to spend $20,000 on that house, and it probably isn’t worth $10,000,” said Mayor Duane Oestmann.

Cowley County land records show the home is appraised at $8,180. They also show unpaid property taxes dating back to at least 2012 in the amount of $787.46 — a figure that does not include interest, penalties or fees. City Manager Nick Hernandez warned Martin that failing to settle that bill could result in his pumping a large amount of money into the structure, only to see it sold at a tax sale.

The commission originally gave Martin 30 days to hire a contractor and pull appropriate permits, with demolition to proceed if he fails to do so. That decision was made at the Jan. 3 meeting, so Martin has about two more weeks to begin the process, otherwise the opportunity to save the structure will be gone.

Spring Hill Golf Course

Administrators for Spring Hill Golf Course also updated the commissioners on their financial standing during the meeting.

The group submitted the following plan for cost-cutting measures:

  • reducing the number of employee hours by using the honor box and cutting the hours the clubhouse will be open.
  • shortening the employee work year to 6.5 months per year.
  • using “pre-release prisoners” for course maintenance and reducing the cutting area on the course.

Spring Hill Golf & Recreation Association treasurer Dale Kuhn indicated it is likely the golf course still will need approximately $1,800 more in financial assistance next month, but with that, he estimates the course should be able to almost break even in April.

Jurkovich commended Kuhn’s efforts to control costs. “I think what you’ve done, that sounds brilliant,” he said.

In other business, the commission:

  • acknowledged the civil servant awards given by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1254 to Arkansas City Police Department Master Police Officer Nelson Douglas, Arkansas City Fire-EMS Department Capt. Ken Corcran and Firefighter-EMT Tanner McClure.
  • unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the city to enter into a contract agreement with Wildcat Construction Company, Inc., of Wichita, for the Water Well No. 14 improvements, for an amount not to exceed $369,800.
  • heard updates on the North 15th resurfacing project from Public Works Director Eric Broce. A detailed presentation is planned sometime next month.
  • heard an update from Information Technology Manager Matt Metzinger on the telephone system repairs for the police and fire-EMS departments. The new system installation is set to begin Jan. 18.

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