Hillsboro property given another extension to fix ongoing issues

After years of providing formal and informal requests to fix unsafe problems at 312 W. Grand, Mayor Lou Thurston said he’s not prepared to provide further extensions, and instead sides with the area property owners.

Thurston’s decision came after hearing from the property owner Dick Hein who said it’s none of the city’s business regarding his property.

Thurston said: “What I have heard from (Dick Hein) is he has no timeline, that it’s up to him when it gets done, that it’s a matter for the city, and I think he is wrong.

“Property owners in the area deserve some recognition and support. But, it’s up to the council, and that’s where we are on this issue.”

Prior to the council making its decision, Dick and Carla Hein both were present at the meeting.

Hein said he has been unable to do all the items listed as unsafe by Ben Steketee, code enforcement officer, primarily because of a worker’s compensation claim.

“The house is getting tended to,” he said, “but, I haven’t been able to do all I have wanted to.

“It will get sided, and get finished, but I am saying it’s just being what it is until I can do my job, and I don’t care what anybody else says.”

Hein reiterated the residential structure will get done.

“I did the garage today, put numbers on the house, the door was fixed over the porch, the door was taken out upstairs and no guardrail was put on up there,” he said.

“Once the siding is on and window’s trimmed that’s all that needs to be done according to the list (of problems with the structure).”

Area residents speak up

Kevin Bartel and Renee Gilkey spoke on their concerns about this ongoing problem.

Bartel responded to Hein’s remark about it not being anybody’s business.

“You (Hein) are taking down our property value,” he said.

Gilkey talked about a different aspect of the situation.

“We live in the neighborhood, and it is dangerous. My kids can’t play in the front yard because it is against your property line,” Gilkey said.

“They can’t kick a soccer ball out front (because of the unsafe conditions).”

When Hein said the wiring and plumbing had been checked three times, Steketee said that was correct, but it’s not finished.

In addition, Steketee presented the council with a letter he wrote to Hein in April 2016.

“I was trying to be friendly,” Steketee said, “and I pointed out problems with the house and that it had been going on for quite some time.”

Even though the letter at that time had no consequences, he did ask Hein to contact him.

The council decided to extend further action against the property for another eight weeks.

Commissioners attend

Marion County Commissioners Kent Becker, Randy Dallke and Dianne Novak attended the meeting specifically to invite council members to the Thursday special meeting regarding redistricting.

Dallke said he has already been to the Goessel and Florence city council meetings to request any new ideas they may have about the five-member redistricting.

“It’s a big decision,” he said.

Thurston said the one map he would prefer would be in splitting Hillsboro between the current commission district and the new commission district.

“This is where I stand on that issue,” he said.

Novak said there’s been talk about the other two newly-formed commission districts being at large, but she is not in favor of this.

“There’s a possibility this would not even be an option,” she said.

In other business, the council:

◼ approved paying vouchers in the amount of $500,243.

◼ approved 2018 budget amendments to the airport revolving fund, municipal court, equipment replacement, street improvement and water improvement projects, refuse utility fund, meter deposit and two other funds.

A public hearing was scheduled at the meeting, but no comments were provided.

◼ heard from Dale Dalke, supervisor of streets, regarding the purchasing of recycling and trash dumpsters and carts.

◼ reminded councilors of a course providing an orientation of the Incident Command System at 6:30 p.m. March 7 in the community room of the Hillsboro City Civic Center. Hillsboro property given another extension to fix ongoing issues

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