The city of Marshall may seem a little less congested in the near future as city officials plan to clean up the streets.
During a regular council meeting Monday, Dec. 3, City Administrator Connie Latimer addressed what appears to be a growing problem of abandoned vehicles.
"We have become overrun ... with abandoned vehicles," she said.
The city's plan is to identify which vehicles are abandoned and notify owners that they must be moved. Much like the process of addressing substandard structures, the code enforcement board will hold a hearing for vehicles that are not removed.
"What's considered an abandoned vehicle?" asked Councilman Vince Lutterbie.
Currently, officials will identify those that are unlicensed or immobile due to missing tires, for example. It's not known how many abandoned vehicles are located within city limits.
According to the Missouri Department of Revenue, any local government agency may authorize the towing of motor vehicles from private property for vehicles that are junk, scrapped, disassembled or otherwise harmful to the public health under local ordinance.
"A lot of times what (the city inspector) has run into, which is why this has become such an issue, is that they will be sitting on property but they don't belong to the property owner," Latimer said. "They might have belonged to a renter that used to be there ..."
Council members approved moving forward with the plan and accepted a bid from Gilpin's Auto Parts to have those vehicles towed after a hearing has been held. Gilpin's will pay the city $69 per vehicle.
Committee members had few reports Monday, aside from regular business. It was reported the airport has seen a drop in traffic, decreasing from 458 total aircraft in October to 296 in November. The city collected 687.69 total tons of solid waste this past month and 77.7 tons of recyclable paper. Those numbers fluctuate from month to month and have somewhat see-sawed from this time last year. In November 2011, the city collected 654.3 tons of solid waste and 91.9 tons of paper.
According to Councilman Dan Brandt the compost curbside pickup, or yard waste, dates will soon change.
The final day of pick-up for this year will be Thursday, Dec. 13. The city's compost area will be open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, and from 7 a.m. to noon on Saturdays after Dec. 13.
November seemed a slower month in terms of construction in the area. The city issued 37 permits, collecting $936 in fees. The total value of construction was $179,000, according to Councilman Ron Duvall. Additions and signs held a majority of the value, while roofs and remodeling accounted for 20 percent.
Some community members addressed the council Monday evening, including builder Jim Steinmetz who thanked the city for their cooperation in the construction of new apartments on Eastwood Avenue. Also, Marshall Cultural Council President Eric Crump provided an update on the Division of Tourism Civil War 150 grant that was applied for. The city provided authorization for the grant application.
"We submitted it ... and we were not successful, I'm afraid," Crump said. "The basics of grant writing are, first of all, follow the directions."
MCC has met with local tourism officials as well as revised the marketing plan for the Battle of Marshall commemoration event scheduled for October 2013. The same grant opportunity will be available in May, however, and Crump hopes to make that deadline.
"I'm going to get things done further in advance and get it reviewed properly by the folks in Jeff City, and we'll make sure it's done right this time," he said.
Mayor Mark Gooden and council members Barbara Utlaut, Sheila Cook, Vince Lutterbie, Gabe Ramsey, Dan Brandt, Sam Moten and Ron Duvall were present. The next regular meeting is scheduled at 5:15 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17.
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