Lebanese Mayor Sherry Capello reported to the city council that while the number of dilapidated properties in the city has decreased over the past 12 years, the city is receiving more and more complaints about property maintenance, which is taking a lot of time and effort from the city’s public requires security department.
It had become necessary to hire an additional full-time public safety inspector and a part-time inspector.
The majority of complaints called to the department are “nuisance complaints”, such as rubbish that is not owned by the property or overgrown weeds, according to Capello.
Inspectors are good at working with landowners and homeowners and giving them adequate time – sometimes up to 90 days – to rectify the crime. Many of the properties are and will be improved.
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There are some property owners who are ignoring the breach notification received from the city and they are being quoted and fined, Capello said.
Some property owners will appeal the appeal and go to a district judge hearing. Capello said public security staff will prepare a case and often the district judge will rule in favor of the city, but others will refuse a subpoena and fine.
City Attorney Donna Brightbill said she recently witnessed such a result at a hearing. She said that a landlord was given time by the city to fix a structural defect in an apartment building that was an unsafe condition for tenants and for failing to do so he was fined.
When the property was re-inspected a month later, the inspector found that the unsafe condition had not been resolved and imposed another subpoena and fine on the property owner.
The landlord appealed the fines. Brightbill said she and public safety staff were preparing solid factual presentations for the hearing. The magisterial district judge denied the first charge but upheld the second, despite the city law allowing the city to bring more than one charge of a violation that is not corrected.
Brightbill noted that visiting or deputy district judges chaired some of the town’s hearings, but that should change in January when a newly elected district judge is sworn in.
Capello said it frustrates public safety officials when their efforts to enforce property maintenance compliance appear to be in vain.
Councilor Wayne Carey urged the Mayor to advise public safety staff that their efforts are valued and that they should “stay on course.” Council chairman Joe Morales said, “I think we want the violators to continue to be pressured.”
Other news from Lebanon
In other matters, the council passed an ordinance changing a street called “Walnut Street” on the north side of the city to “Apricot Street” as requested by the county emergency services department so that it would not interfere with “Walnut Street.” on the south side of the city.
The collection of leaves at the roadside begins on November 1st and lasts until December 6th or until the first measurable snowfall occurs. Piles should contain only leaves and no branches, lawn clippings, or garden plants. There will be no pick-up on November 11th, 25th and 26th.
Capello informed the city council that Damien Foster has been reappointed to the city’s police and fire department. He has been on the board since 2014.
The Hilltop Playground Association is holding its annual Oktoberfest on Saturday, October 30th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 801 N. Sixth St. and includes a costume contest, face painting, hay rides, barrel train rides, a candy scramble, pumpkin start, and a polka band and German food.