Snead takes step toward condemnation, examines subdivision responsibility

At the Snead Town Council’s latest meeting, attorney Alex Smith reviewed possible solutions to a deteriorating structure in the town. Invited by councilor Jack Freeman, Smith explained the town’s first step involved declaring the property a public nuisance. That declaration may result from several reasons but most often applies when health or safety is at risk.

After the declaration, the town should notify and provide the owner an opportunity to correct the problem(s). Should the owner fail to correct, the town could remove the structure and place a lien on the property added to the annual taxes. Smith elaborated that the city could not place a lien if it repaired the structure.

Mayor Tim Kent noted the town had trouble reaching the owner. Smith said state law now requires only that notification be sent to the address of record at the tax office. He offered that the town may act “basically, 30 days from the nuisance declaration.” He explained he would need to verify that the person named holds clear title to the property.

Following Smith’s explanation, the council voted to declare the structure at 446 Blackmon Drive, Altoona, a public nuisance. (The address is not in Altoona but is served by the Altoona post office.) All council members voted with upraised hands. Smith then advised members that, under new state requirements, they need to conduct all votes by roll call. Following the admonition, councilors then re-voted.

Smith then moved to another issue Freeman had asked him to address. Freeman has repeatedly sought council action to correct road problems in the Lee Ridge subdivision. Previously asserting the subdivision roads not town property, councilors have refused to act.

Smith’s report said that unless the roads were not built to specifications, once the town accepted the developer’s plat, the roads became the town’s. Following considerable discussion, councilors decided to ask the county engineer to examine the roads compared to town specifications.

In other matters, Freeman cast the lone dissenting votes on two expenditures for the police department. Police chief Phillip Weaver won approval on the matters: the first to pay the $750 fee for him and his assistant chief to participate in a grantwriting school and, the second, to purchase $1500 in equipment to assist the county animal control officer. Weaver had explained that the equipment, the most expensive of which is a tranquilizer gun, would technically remain the property of the town. No one offered a motion to grant Weaver’s third request, for a $250 ad for a state conservation department magazine.

Acceding to town clerk Rae Ware’s request, the council authorized the purchase of two $50,000 certificates of deposit with HomeTown Bank. She asked the council to contemplate moving at least one town checking account to HomeTown. She explained she felt it a good idea to diversify town funds and support both local banks.

Ware presented a request from an area census supervisor to use the town community center rent-free to conduct census related work in the spring. She noted the census will provide part-time employment ranging between $9.50 and $14 an hour. Councilors agreed unanimously.

Members voted not to meet for the final regularly scheduled session on Dec. 28. All members (Freeman, Kent, James Campbell, Phillip McHan, Curtis Painter, and Charles Sanders) attended the Dec. 14 meeting.