City of Clarence Discontinues Economic Development Donation; Makes Buildings and Culverts Top Priorities
By Corby Cochenour
The City of Clarence held their monthly meeting on Monday evening, July 17, in the City Office. Mayor Jim Watson called the meeting to order.
Eric Timbrook addressed the board about wanting to start a lawn mower shop at his residence and was needing a waiver. After discussion, the board gave him conditional approval as long as his neighbors agree and he presents that in writing. Plus, he would have to secure all county licenses and other necessary documents.
Scot Shively, Matt Beach, Harold Beach, and Paul Echternacht were at the meeting representing Premium Ag, Clarence. They voiced concern about the ditch that was dug near their drive when the City street was paved in front of their business. Shively reported that it is hard on the trucks trying to pull in the drive with the ditch there. There is also concern about the culverts not draining the rain correctly. They would like it cleaned around the culverts and something done with the driveway. Shively stated that his main concern is the ditch in the drive and the possibility of tearing up a truck pulling in to Premium Ag. Watson stated, “Obviously we need to make this a top priority and I recommend that to the board.” Harold Beach stated they would be willing to put some type of fill in there.
Dennie Carothers,City Superintendent, suggested that his crew could level it back up and cut the drive off a little and slope it, to get them by until they have more time in the fall to work on it. The board would also like to see the ditches and culverts cleaned out as soon as possible.
Olivia Maupin spoke to the board about her dog that the board voted to have removed from the City during the June meeting. She stated that her dog was put on probation for one year by Judge Greenwell and that the probation was never violated. She stated that she has also secured a fenced in area for the dog. She didn’t feel it was fair to have the dog removed from the City. The board did not want to revisit the issue and stand by their decision they made in June.
Patty Talbert, NEMO Task Force Director, addressed the board about the services they provide. She stated that they do drug enforcement and work with police and sheriff’s departments with other issues. Raymond Barton, Clarence Police Chief, stated that the NEMO Task Force has helped them a lot. She was requesting any kind of funding help from the board. The board will examine their budget and make a decision at the August 14 meeting.
Economic Development Donation
Mike Rickerson, alderman, stated, “I don’t think we need to give any money to the Economic Development board. Patrick Parker, alderman, stated that the ED board is looking to go in a new direction. He stated, “I was hoping the change would be good,” Dorothy Lanpher, alderwoman, stated, “I agree with Mike. We can always get back in if they start doing something.” The board approved discontinuing their donation to the ED board 3-1, with Parker voting nay.
Alderman Donald Lathrom asked what the status was on the buildings on Chestnut Street. Jim McConnell, City Attorney, stated, “We need to do some work. We passed that ordinance to give us authority to apply for search warrants and that search warrant application is pretty extensive and we haven’t tried it yet. We need to.”
Mayor Watson stated, “Why wasn’t this tried two months ago? Why does it take so long?” He wanted to know if there is any objection to making it a high priority. McConnell will start the process so they can get in the buildings and examine them with an engineer.
Carothers presented his superintendent’s report. He mentioned that Karen Ragan had asked if the City would tear out the culvert behind her building. Carothers stated that it is collapsing, but it is all concrete and is tied in with the back step of her building. He is hesitant due to the situation with the building next door to her building. The board doesn’t feel like the City should mess with it.
He also mentioned a culvert on South Center Street that was cracking. Carothers mentioned in his report that the concrete culvert going under Center Street is fine. The section of concrete making up Brian O’Hara’s drive is the owner’s expense.
Cindy Bowman, City Clerk, presented her report to the board. She asked about getting Brandie Bowles a laptop to use during court since their new court software has been installed. After discussion, the board approved the purchase of a Toshiba laptop. The cost will be $499 plus $99 to upgrade to the Windows 10 Pro.
The board approved Bowman having the authority to spend up to $500 without board approval as long as it is in the budget.
Chief Barton presented his police report to the board. They have removed several coons from the City in the last month. They had a report of a possible stalking/peeping tom at the housing and it being dealt with.
There were 34 written warnings given out for nuisance violations. There were five dogs running at large citations issued.
The board and Barton discussed the issues with the cables in the yards in town. After discussion, the board instructed Barton to pick out the worst homes that have issues with cable in their yard and give the cable guy the tickets and enforce them. City residents are getting upset about receiving nuisance tickets for the pile of cable in their yard.
Bowman presented the treasurer’s report. Their June receipts were $99,246.37. The June disbursements were $138,801.99, leaving a cash balance of $1,114,585.37.
The board discussed what to do with the surplus items and had varying opinions how to handle getting a list of surplus items available for bid. Parker stated, “We have an old police car we are going to advertise for bids, so it makes sense to advertise everything at once.” Other board members were concerned about the time it would take Carothers to make a list when they need to focus on other work like getting the culverts cleaned. Carothers stated that it would take around an hour to gather a list of the surplus items. Lathrom suggested making a list throughout the year and once a year putting the stuff up for public auction or bids in the fall. The board approved having Carothers make a list of everything that needs to be put up for bid, along with the car, and next year, beginning in January, they will keep a list throughout the year and sell once a year.
Barton mentioned that people have been asking about having shade trees around the camping areas at the beach. They also want gravel on the lower camp sites like the upper camp sites have. He also mentioned the need to get the grass and weeds sprayed in the beach area and that the fishermen are wanting the brush and weeds cut down.
The board approved calling Macon Electric and getting a street lamp to put near a residence near Community State Bank due to being extremely dark at night.