MOUND CITY – The Mound City Council grappled with several property-owner issues on Monday, Oct. 3, including unpaid water bills and homeowners requesting more time to avoid condemnation proceedings.
In one case, the council allowed a a reset for the new owners of a residence at 811 Locust and approved a measure to start collection proceedings against the former owner.
According to Trenton Johnson, a real estate agent with Crown Realty who was representing the new owners, the previous owner failed to notify the buyers that there was a water bill of nearly $380 that had not been paid.
The council initially was reluctant to let the new owners off the hook. Council member Lawrence Forbach pointed out that unlike the electric bill, the water bill was connected to the property, not the resident.
Council member Shayna Lamb worried that waiving the unpaid amount for the new owners would set a precedent, and she was against releasing the new owner from the debt.
Ultimately the council voted to seek collection from the former owner and give the buyer a clean slate.
Wendy Ruby wasn’t as fortunate. A tenant in her house at 619 Main St. left an unpaid bill of about $460 that was run up by a water leak that had gone on for two months. The council voted that she was responsible for the delinquent bill.
Nick Wallace also appealed a water bill for second-floor apartment he owns at 5081/2 Main St. He said the bill for nearly $100 was inaccurate, because with all of the water shut off in the apartment, the meter was still showing water use at about a half a gallon per minute.
He said that the storefront below the apartment had a tub that was leaking that the owner had not repaired.
While City Superintendent John Bruns said that the upstairs apartment and downstairs storefront had separate meters and water use in the storefront shouldn’t affect the bill for the upstairs apartment, he said he would meet with Wallace to look at the problem.
The council did approve giving a credit to Sharon Barnes for $71 after someone opened an outdoor hydrant on property she manages and left it running.
In two hearings on code violations, the council gave two property owners 30-day extensions to address violations.
Lois New, owner of property at 411 N. 3rd, told the council she had paid workers from Fort Scott $150 to clean up the yard of the storage building she owns. New was cited for trash and debris including furniture in the yard as well as overgrown weeds.
While New said she had been working to get the property cleaned up, and she also said she had been in the hospital with serious health issues. However, the problem with trash on the property has been ongoing for more than a year.
City Codes Officer Jacob Bush told the council that there was so much trash on the porch of the building that it was impossible to get inside.
City Attorney Jesse Randall told New that Bush had deemed the property unsafe with issues that needed to be corrected. He advised the council to give New until the next council meeting on Nov. 7 to clean up the property or the council would take action to address the problem.
Gerald Cox was also given a 30-day extension on a condemned house he owns at 102 N. First St. The house needs considerable repairs, and it was suggested that the rock foundation it rests on needed repairs.
Cox said he believed the foundation was still viable and that he was planning to fix the problems.
Bush noted that the northwest corner of the house was open and that it needed to be closed up.
In other business, the council:
Heard a concern by Mayor Wade Doering that the city’s part-time police officers were not responding to calls when they were on-call. He asked Police Chief Paul McKee to set up a meeting with the officers. “If he’s on-call and can’t do it, that’s not going to work,” he said.
Heard a request from Lorna Turley representing the Mound City Historical Society. She said the organization is planning on hosting “Village in the Valley” for Christmas this year in the city’s historical park. The group recently reorganized after it had been inactive for several years, and it has been several years since the event that celebrates an old-time Christmas has happened.
Turley also asked the city to have its crews mow the park over the summer, a request the council tabled until more information was available. She estimated the cost to be $2,000 a year.
• Lamb suggested the city look at sponsoring a summer event, similar to the grand
opening of the splash park last summer. She said it could have food and entertainment,
which could even include fireworks. She also suggested that mid-June might be an
ideal time to have it.