There’s been some noticeable removal of junk at the Frank Callaway property on 6th Street, but as it turns out, the items were not his.
“There was some stuff being stored there by someone other than the owner and they removed it after I told them we served a nuisance letter to the owner,” said council member Rich Koch.
The city council deemed property owned by Callaway stretching from 4th St. to 6th St. a nuisance two weeks ago and sent him notice. They also decided at that time to call a special meeting to determine further action if no progress was noted. Monday night, the council held its special meeting.
“Do you believe what was removed by the other individual was the majority of the work done there,” asked Hebron interim mayor Larry Fangmeier. Koch said he couldn’t be sure as he had not been down to view the property. The Council has not heard from Callaway.
City attorney Joe Murray said once the City has deemed the property a nuisance, the burden shifts to the owner to prove it isn’t. “He needs to be here to show cause why it isn’t a nuisance,” he said, “and if he doesn’t do that, then you can make a move.” Murray said clean-up expenses were a collectible issue, that the City could take property or wages, then added that the council always has the option of granting more time to the owner for clean-up.
The City will begin investigating clean-up costs and parameters of such a project over the next couple of weeks.
Two weeks ago during the regular city meeting, city office workers informed the board that billing for the three garbage companies in Hebron was turning into a nightmare for which there was no compensation. “We do all their bookwork, billing, and collection for free,” said City treasurer Carla Seaman. “And, if someone skips out on their bill, the trash companies still get paid; the City gets stuck.”
City attorney Murray reminded the board why the system was enacted. “Remember, you wanted to do the billing as a means of controlling garbage pickup in the city,” he said. “If you do the billing, you make sure everyone has trash pickup.”
The board would like to lessen the burden of bookwork on city administrators or at least collect some compensation, but isn’t quite sure how to go about it without giving up the free billing service or downsizing to just one collection company.
“If you let bids to have just one company in town,” Murray warned, “you’re going to put two people out of business here.”
Mayor Fangmeier said he would like to meet with all three trash collection companies and the utility committee for input into what can be done.
The matter will be discussed further at the August board meeting following discussion with the collection companies.