Junk car notices create stir for city council
By Annette Tait
If the entire June city council meeting had gone as smoothly as the public hearing that preceded it, council would have finished in record time. The public hearing was held to wrap up the Lewis and Clark Regional Development Council block grant, now that work has been completed. The grant provided 80/20 funding to bring the city pool into ADA compliance, with adaptations added to the restrooms, and installation of automatic doors and a lift to assist physically challenged swimmers in and out of the pool. The city’s share of the costs is about $2,500. A motion was made and approved to complete the grant process.
The city council meeting was then called to order, with the usual approval of previous meeting minutes, the treasurer’s report, and bills on hand for payment. Tension started to mount as Sheriff Dave Hilliard made his appearance before the council to report on his department’s activities, which included serving notices to owners of junk vehicles. Five individuals who were served requested hearings before the council; three remained who had been served but were still in the 10-day waiting period where they could request a hearing; and additional services had been made the day of the meeting. Hilliard reported that at least one individual currently in the 10-day waiting period had moved the vehicle in question. A total of 16 notices had been served with the 10-day waiting period completed; all of the 16 vehicles had either been moved, licensed, or towed.
Councilman Eric Casson noted that he received a complaint from someone who had been served. The individual told Casson that there were several vehicles on his property and wanted to know which one he had received notice on.
“We try to put the vehicle description on the service,” Hilliard said, noting that the individual in question had told him all three vehicles are operable and licensed.
“I’ve been the one who’s been checking on ‘operable’,” Sheriff’s Deputy James Christoff added. “It doesn’t necessarily happen the day they’re served – we [go out to] check when they notify us that they’re operable.”