By Nancy McGill
The Hebron City Council is planning to assist two property owners on the west side of 4th Street between Lincoln and Olive Avenues with $2,500 each for demolition debris cleanup, as part of the council’s routine procedure in addressing nuisance properties.
“We found purchasing the property and cleaning it up is cheaper than litigation itself,” city administrator, Chris Fangmeier said. “It’s a compromise to save both parties quite a bit of money.”
Alan Johnson and John Levendofsky, who own 117 and 119 on 4th Street, respectively, had their buildings blocked off under emergency status weeks ago because the dilapidated structures are a safety concern. Should the property owners agree to demolish the buildings under the city’s requirements that the neighboring property owners are fully protected, the city will offer them $5,000 each for the empty lots.
But the city is not a party to the contract between the owners and the demolition contractor, which involves insurance and acquiring permits. The city has no immediate plans for the lots.
And while the process may seem slow, it would drag on if the matter was in litigation, city attorney, Joe Murray said. He is assisting with the contract between Johnson and Levendofsky for the sake of the neighboring businesses that flank their buildings to the north, and to the south.
The council also had to officially declare Johnson’s building as a nuisance. Next month, they will place Levendofsky’s under the classification.
Two additional properties, 535 Jefferson Ave., and 220 S. 6th St., were declared nuisances. On nuisance declared properties, the city will identify them with Nuisance Abatement Procedure signs because council members are concerned about owners selling nuisance properties as is without informing potential buyers about problems with the properties.
In other business, the council discussed dates for city clerk, Marcy Welch, who has requested a public hearing.
Welch was suspended with from her position June 22 by Mayor Shane Day, according to the city. Policy allows for Welch to address Day and the council in an open forum, which will be held July 20 at 5:30 p.m. in the Hebron Secrest Library basement.
Welch has been with the city since June of 2012. She became the clerk in August of 2015.
Council members also authorized the annual contract with the Thayer County Sheriff’s Office for $11,796 per month.
In general discussion, residents reported fireworks going off after midnight and as late as 1:30 a.m., including two days after July 4. The city does not have a fireworks ordinance and the council agreed the issue should be on the August agenda.