Several citizens at the July 1 El Dorado Springs City Council meeting shared their concerns about trash and derelict homes during the public forum segment of the meeting.
Glenda Baker asked how many of the councilmen had read the ordinances and wanted to know if all the council members were given copies of the ordinances when they took office. City Manager Bruce Rogers said they did. Baker mentioned that she has statistics on how the city properties have gone down in the last few years saying the city needs to stay on top of everything – sewer, electric and water hook up and letting people “slide” that don’t have these services. She said that it makes her sad that El Dorado Springs has deteriorated. Rogers disagreed. He explained the processes of the law that go along with taking people’s property. He said it costs around 4-5 thousand dollars in hauling the debris not counting the manpower and equipment that is needed to tear a house down. He said the city can only do so much at one time. Baker said she wanted to see the city be more progressive in making the city better. Councilman Jim Luster asked “what more needs to be done?” Baker answered “People in homes that do not have utilities.” Rogers said that the city doesn’t go around once a month to see who is living without utilities. Baker said the people who do not have utilities need to take responsibility – “We are enabling them to get by,” she said.
Mayor Brad True stated he does not want to kick people out and that the city has torn down 12 houses in the last several years. Luster said every town has its problems.
Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jackson Tough mentioned the grant opportunity through Kaysinger Basin which helps with funding to tear down homes. Rogers recounted a meeting in Tough’s office about two years ago when Kasinger Basin explained the grant. Rogers reminded Tough 80% of the residential and commercial property owners had to sign paperwork agreeing to let their property be torn down and participate financially. Rogers asked for help from Tough’s group in working with property owners to get their participation. Rogers pointed out that it would be better received coming from a group of peers than the city. Rogers said he never heard back from Tough’s group.
Shirely Simmons, property owner on Radio Lane, mentioned some neighbors around her property and wanted to know what could be done about trash. Rogers said more citations can be given out, which could create a financial burden. The city could confiscate the property with a search warrant and then have to hold the property for 90 days to allow it to be reclaimed. Rogers also said they could contact State Representative Warren Love and State Senator Sandy Crawford. Police Chief Jarrod Schiereck said they are protected by the constitution and they have to have probable cause to issue search warrants. Simmons said she wanted protection, too. Rogers said they could threaten jail time, then the city is responsible and there is a cost per day.
Schierick said maybe community groups could step up and help remove some of the debris.
The council passed an ordinance amending a user charge system to provide funds needed to pay for all expenses associated with the city’s water utilities. Rogers said that the water rates would increase $2 for a 3⁄4 in connection.
The council passed a resolution to hire Carrie E. McWilliams, Paula Newman, Emily Shinn and Tiffany McGuirk for the Picnic.
Rogers informed the council that Picnic Committee’s 2nd annual Golf Tournament raised $3,235. The money helped the committee get more popular acts for the Picnic.
At the meeting were Rogers, True, Luster, Councilmen Cory Gayman and Nick Bland along with City Clerk Kandi Baldwin. Councilman Nathan Murrell was absent.