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Marathon of public hearings at city council meeting

by Dolores Hamilton
Monday’s city council meeting began with a marathon of public hearings on substandard structures.
The first four were the fourth hearings dealing with abatement of the buildings and the owners’ requests for additional time to do the work.
The first hearing was for the strip mall at 606 E. Highway. At the first hearing last July the owner indicated he wanted to make substantial improvements to the property that had been abandoned for years. The council has given him three extensions to do the work, but nothing has been done.
City Manager Jerry Flemming said the main concern is security. The city tried to secure the back of the building but found the wood was in such bad shape that nothing could be nailed to it. “I’m done!” said Councilwoman Sherrie Williams. “People aren’t taking us seriously. He said he planned to work on it but nothing has been done in six months.” Williams mentioned a possible state law where they could fine a person $1,000 a day for not complying, and asked Flemming to look into it. Council voted to table action until the next meeting.
In the hearing for 401 E. Lafayette, the council was told that progress has been made. The owner asked for 30 to 45 more days to finish the work and he was given 30 days.
In the hearing for the H.U.D. manufactured home at 315 E. Crystal, the owner said he was doing the work as his finances would allow and told of the work he has done. He said he didn’t know about the liens for mowing on the property dating back to 2009. The council gave him until March 26 to finish the work.
In the fourth public hearing for the wooden residential structure at 904 S. Wall, it was determined that nothing had been done after seven months, and ordered its demolition.
A public hearing was held for a manufactured residential structure at 709 E. Park and it was found to be a substandard structure. The owner told the council that he had someone who was going to remove the structure, but that fell through. Someone in the audience said they could give him the phone number of someone who could do the job. The owner was given 45 days to abate the problem.
A list of streets for paving projects was discussed, and 12 streets were selected for slurry work and two for rebuild. Streets chosen for slurry work include Emma, Kathleen, 900-1000 Louisa, N. Jackson, W. Bank, S. Colorado, W. Lafayette, S. Alcott, Elizabeth, 200 W. Park, Saratoga, and 100W - 300E Bank. Park Place Circle and Second St. are scheduled for rebuild.
In addition, Public Works Director David Sherrill brought up the bad condition of Wigley Road that leads to Lake Iowa Park. Sherrill and Precinct 3 Road Foreman went out to check on the road and suggested using chip seal that costs $10,000. County Commissioner Barry Mahler said the county would work with the city and split the cost for the road work.
Police Chief Robert Johnson gave the Racial Profiling Report for 2017 and it was approved. He also said that two small ocean containers were given to the Iowa Park Police Department by the U.S. Department of Defense. $480 of the department Asset Forfeiture Funds was used for the relocation of the containers by Waters Ag.
A resolution was passed authorizing the city manger to execute a fifth amendment to the lease agreement with New Cingular Wireless for equipment modifications on the water tower located within the West Emerald Street right-of-way.
The city manager was also authorized to enter in to a contract service agreement with Texas Communities Group, LLC to create a plan for addressing problem properties, dilapidated structures and property foreclosures with the city.