Winfield Council takes additional steps to solve property nuisance
BY BRYCE KELLY
Mt. Pleasant News
WINFIELD — After months of back and forth discussions with the owner of the home at 108 North Olive St., the Winfield City Council is now taking additional steps to get the home into a safe and livable condition.
Owned by Richard Hughes, of Winfield, the home in question on N. Olive St. has been the topic of much discussion for the city council for over a year. Most currently, the board has ordered Hughes to make repairs to the house’s back roof as well as the structure’s falling turrets. In the case of both items, Hughes has failed to comply with the council’s requests to repair the house.
In addition, the council did previously order repairs to be made to the home’s dilapidated porch, which were completed.
“Personally, my patience has run thin,” said city mayor, Chris Finnell, speaking to Hughes, who was present during Wednesday evening’s city council meeting. “I think we (the council) have been very patient with you, but we aren’t seeing any progress.”
After discussing the matter with Hughes, assessing the work that needs to be done and referencing the Iowa Code Book, the council moved to hire a contractor to complete the needed repairs, and then issue Hughes the bill for the completed work.
“We will have an agreement drawn up saying that you have agreed to pay for the work, but realize that if you don’t, we will assess your taxes,” Finnell told Hughes.
In addition to moving ahead with the home’s repairs, Finnell and the board expressed their concerns for Hughes, and offered suggestions of possibly selling the property and moving to a different home. Finnell also inquired if Hughes has considered tearing down the home and moving elsewhere, which Hughes said he had not.
“There’s a lot of issues with the home, and we would encourage you to just look into moving to a safer, more comfortable place to live,” said Finnell, adding he and the board worry about the overall structural stability of the house. “All the people in this room want to help you find a place that’s safe and comfortable for you to live. If there are ways we can help you do that, we want to.”
Moving forward, the council agreed to obtain repair estimates for the roof and the turrets. From there, estimates will be presented to Hughes and payment installments will be agreed upon.
Transitioning to other matters, the council approved the purchase of two security cameras for the sewer plant/city burn site. According to city clerk, Angie Oepping, she has applied for a grant to help with the cost of the cameras.
“We’ve been having issues with people messing around down by the burn site forever, so I think we need these cameras there for sure,” said councilwoman Jan Walter.
The council approved to purchase two cameras for $25,075 plus a $21 per month maintenance fee.
In other news, the board:
• Approved CD renewals from Pilot Grove Savings Bank for the City of Winfield and the Winfield Library.
• Approved the annual urban renewal reports for the 2016 fiscal year.
• Moved to look into applying for a grant from Healthy Henry County Communities (HHCC) for the building of a skatepark. The council has received inquires about possibly building a skatepark in the city. The council agreed to look into the issue and discuss it further at a future council meeting.
The city council will meet again on Wednesday evening, Dec. 14, at Winfield City Hall.