Rep. Wagner talks cleaning up dilapidated houses at Lepanto City Council

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Rep. Wes Wagner visited with the Lepanto City Council during this month's regular meeting to talk about dilapidated properties and other topics. Dealing with dilapidated homes has been a topic of discussion at many recent council meetings.

"Dilapidated houses are a problem everywhere," Wagner said. "Tearing them down usually costs more than the property is worth." To help with that, Wagner said he is working on legislature to give tax breaks to private individuals who buy and clean up dilapidated property. Wagner said to cut through a lot of the red tape involved in condemning a property, he likes to encourage people who are not going to clean their property to deed it to the city.

Wagner said he is working on getting funding for cities to help with cleaning up and one of the main things he likes to do is work on grants for small towns. Among his work for Lepanto, Wagner and Senator David Burnett recently got the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department to repave the bridges in Lepanto. "It took a lot of work to convince the state department to repave the bridges," Wagner said. "The next thing to do is to stay after them on those bridges. Long range, it still has to be a priority that those bridges are replaced."

During the council meeting, Mayor Steve Jernigan gave an update on condemned properties. Two properties have been condemned, 100 Burton Street and 208 Woodland Street. Mayor Jernigan said the Burton Street property had been sold and was cleaned up some while the Woodland Street property should be cleaned up by the weekend. The quotes for the city to tear down the properties were around $5,000 for the Burton Street property and around $3,000 for the Woodland Street property.

Mayor Jernigan said he has received numerous complaints about another property, 107 Didemma Street, owned by Kevin Wright. The property burned down several years ago, and city hall has received complaints of drug deals in the area. Mayor Jernigan said the property owner had not yet been served a notice to clean up the property.

In other business, the council:

*discussed regulations for the new section of the cemetery.

*discussed what to do with leaves and the possibility of allowing burning.

*adopted a resolution defining fixed assets to comply with a legislative audit.

*discussed a letter from the mayor of Elaine, Ark., regarding the buyout owed to Lepanto--required by state law--if Elaine hires former Lepanto police officer Mary Rolland. The council agreed not to accept less than the full buyout amount of $4,863.

*approved an ordinance concerning the issuance of capital improvements, approved by voters, for the replacement of galvanized water lines in the city.

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