Slater council sets date for hearing on nuisance ordinance

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

The Slater City Council is forging ahead with plans to rewrite the city's nuisance ordinance with several meetings, including a public hearing, scheduled to finalize changes.

Council members set a series of meetings over the next two weeks, including a public hearing to gather suggestions from the public, set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 30.

"I think we ought to meet and prepare a suggested ordinance so there's something for the people to look at," said City Attorney Pat Cronan.

But some members of the public have already given input, having attended the last two council meetings to express their anger over the crackdown on unkempt properties.

That anger has also spilled over to include other council decisions and city services in recent meeting.

During Tuesday's meeting, residents complained of speeding garbage trucks, a lack of access to city information, a lack of pick-up service for branches and odd garbage including lawnmowers, and a lack of public announcements about council meetings and council decisions.

"You're bringing up good issues, but we're bending over backwards. What do we need to do to help you?" asked Councilman Terry Jordan.

Council members agreed to have a rough draft of the proposed nuisance ordinance available to the public through city offices after the committee working on the measure, which includes council members Norman Depue, Cathy Jeffries, Harry Lightfoot and Ron Monnig, meets with Cronan to perfect the draft Thursday.

Then the council will hold a special session, open to the public, for council members' input on Tuesday, July 23, followed by the public hearing on July 30.

"In the nuisance ordinance, how's it going to be given out to the public?" asked one resident following the discussion.

Mayor Andree Petersen noted the ordinance would be available at the city hall free of charge.

During the meeting, Slater's Assistant City Administrator Gene Griffith repeated complaints from the city's garbage contractors that a new dumpster set up for white goods (appliances) is being filled with garbage which can be put at curbside.

"We are being overwhelmed and are getting numerous white goods," said Griffith. "But because we are (also) getting everything under the sun, they'll remove that service if we abuse it."

All of the mattresses, bicycles, furniture and other household garbage does not have to be brought to the dumpster since garbage collectors will pick it up curbside, he explained.

"Why haul them over here and throw them in the dumpster?" he said. "It's a valuable thing, it's a good service. But if we abuse it they're going to refuse it."

A number of residents at the meeting complained they were unaware that the bin was only for white goods, with one resident complaining that residents without radios, cable or newspaper subscriptions are not well informed.

"Then how did they find out about the dumpster in the first place?" asked Lightfoot.

The council agreed to post a sign beside the dumpster reminding residents it is only for the disposal of white goods such as refrigerators, stoves and washing machines.

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