Apr 02, 2024

Allen Dinkel issues the 515 Report

Posted Apr 02, 2024 1:35 PM

By Allen Dinkel

It is hard to believe that the end of March is here, and we will end the first quarter of the year. Of course, we look forward to the warmer weather and more hours of “daylight” and we all will be outside more often. When it was very cold this past winter, I, like many of you, probably promised not to complain if it gets to “hot” this summer.

About a month ago on a very nice day, we got a call about why the restrooms in the park were not open yet. That is a question we get each year. As you know the restrooms in the park are not heated so the plumbing is “winterized” during the colder months. Even though it would nice to have those facilities open, we know it can and will get cold again and would have to prepare for cold weather again. Really no different than companies who make asphalt. They shut down for the winter and then wait in the spring thill the weather is right to “kick it back up” again.

As the weather begins to warm up, everything will begin to grow. This of course includes grass and weeds. Even though most take care of keeping their property mowed and “looking good”, there are those who neglect their property and become in violation of City Code. Staff members in the Codes Department then travel the City to find those who must be sent a letter that they are in violation and must take care of their property.

These letters, per State Statute and City Code are sent by certified letter. Even though some of these are sent to property owners who regularly neglect their property each year,

staff does have to wait until the property is in violation. With weeds and grass only 1 notice is sent each year and subsequent tall weeds, and grass can be addressed without a additional notice that given year.

The Codes Department is working to make a list of structures to bring to the City Commission to be considered as unsafe or dangerous structures unfit for human use or habitation. I have not seen the complete list yet, but it will probably be 15 to 20 structures. Again, there is a process involved which includes legal notices, a public hearing, and various resolutions. Each year there are property owners who have done nothing on their property for years and sometimes do not even show up to the public hearing, but then want more time and make promises of hos they will improve their property. Of course, if the building is not addressed the City will order and pay for the demolition and removal of the structure. The City pays the costs and then bills the property owner. It they don’t pay the costs are assessed to the property taxes. The City however will never own the property as at some time the property could go up at a “Tax Sale.”

Parks and Rec. staff is preparing the parks for the summer season and soon will focus on the swimming pool. They have opened the skating rink at Spin City on various days and attendance has been good. The current Parks staff has operated the facility, so costs have been held in place. We will continue to evaluate the various uses for this structure and how it can be a great asset for the City.

The City Commission will review bids this week for the 2024 Street Maintenance project That cost will exceed $1.5 million. A large portion of the work will be done on West Sixth Street. So, when that is done there will be some inconveniences, but it is just part of the process.

The 6th Street bridge is a KDOT and not a City project. I think we are all ready for the bridge to be open and the traffic flow will go back to normal. Of course, the Interstate project will be interesting and sometime this year the roundabout on South Washington Street will be replaced. Yes there will be inconveniences, but part of the process.