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Thursday, December 13, 2018
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Sullivan city council tables vehicle, dirty lot ordinances for refinement of terms

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The Sullivan City Council plans to address concerns with abandoned and nonoperating vehicles, as well as dirty properties, were put on hold to allow its legal counsel to refine language in one already on the books.

At the council’s previous meeting in August, discussion had centered on establishing a new ordinance to address properties that had garbage and debris strewn about or cars sitting around that were not being used, as well as not being stored out of public sight.

Those new ordinances were presented to the council Tuesday, but, at the request of Sullivan Mayor Clint Lamb, they were tabled to allow legal review of an ordinance established in 2004.

"I don’t think these ordinances are to knit-pick citizens, but we do have some serious problem areas …" Lamb said. "Instead of passing a new ordinance, maybe if we do some amending to the 2004-13 ordinance."

Many of the concerns from the 2004 ordinance centered on the terms used and wording in certain sections, including the following:

• If "unregistered" should be included with language on "inoperable" vehicles to cover vehicles that were not street legal.

• If the building inspector instead of the town clerk-treasurer should be in charge of issuing fines and letters to property owners.

• If an "itemized" list of expense incurred if the city cleaned the property for the owner should be changed to "invoice" and "contracted agent" added to allow the hiring of a private company to perform the work instead of city employees.

Following discussion of updating the existing ordinance, Council member John Ellington told Lamb he would prefer to work from the ordinance already on the books, and council member Scott Brown expressed a desire for a clearer delineation of the appeals process listed in the ordinance for property owns to dispute claims filed against them.

The current plan is for city attorney Doug Followell to review language in the current ordinance and compare it to laws enacted by other cities in the state.

In other business:

• Lamb also informed the council that its members may have to take action at a future meeting to cancel an automatic increase in the city’s sewer rate.

The rate increase was tied to needed improvements to the city’s sewer and wastewater plant, but, due to a $700,000 grant that will cover those needs, the rate increase is not needed.

• Prior to Tuesday’s city council meeting, the Sullivan City Board of Public Works and Safety met, during which it members hired Zachary Birdsong as a new city firefighter.


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