Several Newburg City Council members want to crack down on properties that are not being cleaned up or buildings that are burnt or pose safety risks in town.
During the March 19 council meeting, council members asked Newburg Police Chief Chris Finch for an update on his efforts to cite building or property owners for violations.
Finch said warning letters have been sent to some individuals and others have been fined or given a summons to appear in court. Others still have some time to address their properties before further action will be taken.
Council member Bill Stines was told that one property owner of a burnt building was fined $75 and that the owner has a month to take action. If not, the owner could face a higher fine.
Stines said he feels the fines should be higher than $75.
Mayor James Poucher said he would follow up with building and property owners who were found in violation of not meeting certain ordinances.
Stines also said he noticed some children playing in a burnt house in town. He said even if the city does not own these burnt buildings or buildings that are falling down, he feels inaction by the city in these cases could make the city liable.
Stines also questioned how it looks if the city is asking others to clean up their property when the city owns some property that needs to be cleaned up, too.
“You’re right. We absolutely have to clean our own doorstep before we knock on others,” Finch said.
Several council members agreed that there should be more enforcement of the current ordinances, but council member Alyson Garvey said part of the problem is that the city needs to update its ordinances regarding building and property violations.
Garvey said there should be more specific ordinances in regards to keeping properties cleaned and maintained.
Council member Randy Brinkley said he feels too many actions, like updating and enforcing these ordinances, are tabled and forgot about.
Also during the meeting, the council discussed holding a cleanup day in town before Newburg Day, scheduled for June 8 this year.
During a cleanup day held in June 2011, it was noted that it cost the city $1,529 to have the trash and large bulk items hauled away.
It was suggested that residents bring their bulk trash items to a central location during certain hours or days where it can be secured and that assistance would be provided for older residents or those who aren’t able to transport their items.
Page 2 of 2 -
It was agreed that city officials talk to its hauling company to see if it prefers to pick up items on a cleanup day in one location or go from residence to residence to pick up items.