Article Comment 

Aldermen to deal with next round of dilapidated structures

 

Carl Smith

 

The Starkville Board of Aldermen could declare five Ward 7 properties as public health, safety and welfare hazards, thereby opening the door for their demolition. 

 

This agenda item marks the second such move the board has considered since February. 

 

The structures in question are located at 19 Canal St., 123 Earnest Jones Dr., 721 South Jackson St., 231 Long St. and 516 West Main St. 

 

Representatives of the Long Street and South Jackson Street properties have requested 30 and 60 days respectively to tend to the dilapidated structures. A Canal Street property representative requested an extension in May, but city documents do not state its timeframe. 

 

The prior board of aldermen showed a willingness to work with owners of properties previously deemed in violation of public safety codes by granting work extensions in February. 

 

The five structures were identified as dilapidated by the city's code inspector on Feb. 5. In each instance of code violations, the city authorized Board Attorney Chris Latimer to conduct title searches, attempted to contact the owners of the dilapidated structures and published legal notices of intent. 

 

Latimer provided title searches on April 19, and certified letters were sent to property owners on May 9. Hearing notices were published on June 16, and the properties were posted a day later. 

 

Statutes require adequate notice to be given to property owners about code violations in order to allow structural remediation. If the city does demolish a dilapidated structure, the cost is assessed to the property owner through a tax lien. 

 

Not only are dilapidated structures an eyesore, but they can also become a threat to public health and safety by serving as a habitat for vermin and posing a danger by being structurally unsafe for those who enter the building. 

 

In other business, the board is expected to: 

 

■ Consider a special event request for Starkville Community Day and its related in-kind services from Anita Lindsey; 

 

■ Consider a yearly growth report on Volunteer Starkville from Jamey Matte; 

 

■ Consider adopting the fourth edition of Alice Sturgis' "The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure" as the board's rules for this term; 

 

■ Authorize Starkville Police Department to purchase two night vision goggles which will be paid for through a 100 percent reimbursable Department of Homeland Security grant; 

 

■ Approve M.B. Hampton as contractor for University Drive's second phase of Americans with Disabilities Act improvements. Hampton's $14,758 quote was the lowest received by the city and falls below the project's $18,000 budget.

 

Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch

 

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