Posted on

Property owners responding to clean-up request

Property owners responding to clean-up request
Property owners responding to clean-up request
A two-story home that burned several months ago in Marengo has been razed. The property has been sold, and the new owner plans to put homes on the site. Photo by Stephanie Taylor Ferriell
By Stephanie Taylor Ferriell, Senior Staff Writer, [email protected]

The Marengo Town Council recently decided to get serious about improving the town’s appearance. The move was in response to an increasing number of dilapidated and abandoned properties that councilmembers say are not only unattractive, but pose a health and safety risk.

It’s been just more than a month since the council voted to make Eddie Wetzel ordinance control officer. Wetzel has been working with Marshal Shawn Scott to educate residents about the town’s ordinances regarding trash, junk and weeds.

They’ve made visible progress.

At the Dec. 21 board meeting, Wetzel gave an update on the first few weeks.

“We’ve been knocking on doors, being friendly about things,” he said. “We got permission to clean one property up.”

Wetzel outlined the following:

A property owner who has had vehicles setting idle for 10 months has been given 30 days to remove them.

Shelby Street has been improved with an abandoned home torn down and old cars moved.

The person living in a mobile home along Depot Street has been given 30 days to clean up trash from the residence that has been tossed into the creek.

The owner of a now closed store given permission for the town to clean up the property.

The two-story home along S.R. 66 that burned several months ago was scheduled to be removed before Christmas.

The block house along Depot Street has recently sold. Wetzel said he’s not sure who the owner is, but he or she will be given an opportunity to clean up the property before action is taken.

Wetzel presented receipts from clean-up expenses and $160 that has been collected thus far. The council established a line item in the General Fund for fees from ordinance violations. That money will be used for further improvement efforts.

Council members said they are serious about following up and making sure properties are in compliance with regulations.

“If they don’t (complete clean-ups), we’re going to start fining,” said Wetzel. “We’re going to have to take them to court. We can’t just make idle threats.”

Council president Mike Haverstock asked about two dogs he’s seen running loose in town on several occasions.

Scott said one dog was left at a home after the resident was evicted. However, the man is returning regularly to feed and water the dog.

In another instance, a dog was approaching a child in a threatening manner. Scott said that dog had to be pepper sprayed because it also threatened an officer. The owner was warned a ticket will be issued if it happens again. Pet owners must keep their animals confined to their property, he said.

In other business, the council approved the 2021 salary ordinance and had a reorganizational meeting. Haverstock was retained as president and Wetzel will continue as vice president. Jerry Hanger Jr. is the third council member.

The council’s next meeting is set for Monday, Jan. 18, at noon at the town hall.