Peabody resident confronts city council

Staff writer

Alice Morris addressed the Peabody City Council Monday evening about a notice she received of a nuisance vehicle on her property at 204 Pine St. The notice gave her 10 days to move the car, a 1999 Cadillac Seville.

She told council members the car tag is current and the car is insured and operable. The officer who served the notice did not know what action she should take other than to “move the car.” The notice referenced Police Chief Bruce Burke as the contact person if she had questions. Messages left at his number went unanswered. She said she later found out Burke was on vacation.

Morris said she then went to the city building to find out what she should do. She said she was less than pleased with the reception she received, although she was able to get a copy of the full ordinance and was put on the council meeting agenda.

Morris showed council members a stack of photographs she took during the past weekend of cars in various states of disrepair, and cars without tags or with expired tags, all in Peabody. She reminded them that her car was tagged, insured, and operable; it just had not been moved recently.

Mayor Larry Larsen addressed her concerns and explained the procedure the police department has when carrying out notifications for nuisance vehicles and properties. He said that Burke would be back from vacation on Tuesday and Larsen would have him contact Morris.

He also noted that the signature on the violation notice appeared to be that of a part-time officer who does not live in Peabody and was probably not familiar with the ordinance when he served her with the notice.

“It looks like we need to do some fact finding here and figure out a way to avoid this kind of problem in the future,” Larsen said. “I will get back to you on this.”

Morris also complained about taste, color, and odor problems with the water and showed pictures of her bathtub, sink, and toilet, stained from the water that flows through the lines in her neighborhood.

“I paid $1,078 in the last year for something I can’t drink, can’t cook with, and don’t want to bathe in,” she said. “I know that amount includes sewer and trash, but still … I should not have to pay to receive this stuff.”

Additional conversation between Morris, council members, and Interim Public Works Director Ronnie Harms, reached no conclusion, but Morris was encouraged to contact Harms when problems arise. Council member Janice Woodruff said that until water lines are replaced, those problems will exist in several parts of town.

Randy Dallke told council members he would like to move a house from the southeast corner of First and Olive Sts. to a parcel of land he owns north of Prairie Lawn Cemetery.

“The house was moved into town in 1971 and came down Walnut Street at that time,” he said. “I have talked to a house mover and his estimate is pretty reasonable, but I still need to check with Westar, the phone company, and cable company. Plus, some of the trees on Walnut would have to be trimmed.”

Dallke said they would need to be trimmed to 25 feet straight up from the curb.

“I need to get an idea of what the city could do. Could the city crew do it? Would you allow me to do it? Could we work together and hire it done? I need some kind of direction,” he said.

After discussion, council members agreed to consider his project, but wanted more information. Dallke agreed to get some estimates and determine exactly which trees would need to be trimmed and return with the figures.

In other business:

  • Interim City Administrator Mac Manning told the council that demolition would begin on the Butler house at Sycamore and Second Sts. during the week of Thanksgiving.
  • Jylle Wilson presented the council with a parking problem on Fourth Street between the home of her in-laws, Brian and Tammy Whiteside, and Janie Hampton who lives across the street. After discussion, the council tabled any decision until after members could hear from the police chief on the matter.
  • The council learned that three new trees had been planted near the entry of the city park as part of the on-going tree replacement project.
  • In other news concerning the park, Harms said he had been informed by people attending the Peabody-Burns vs. Clifton-Clyde football game that a coach of that team pulled up the stakes to the roped off area to allow Clifton-Clyde fans to park on the baseball outfield. Because of the heavy rain, Harms had barricaded the area to keep cars from creating ruts in the baseball field. Manning said he would write a letter to the Clifton-Clyde administration.
  • Manning also will contact the Duke Eldridge family and express the city’s appreciation to them for volunteering to clear the area between the well-house and the swimming pool of litter, trash, and debris.
  • The street committee has a list of streets to be re-surfaced in 2014. Manning was instructed to contact Jim Ralston of APAC and have him come to Peabody to view the streets and present some estimates to the council.
  • Council member Tom Schmidt said he had a conversation with USD 398 Superintendent Ron Traxson about re-activating the city’s economic development program. Schmidt said they would try to get something in place after the first of the year.
  • Council members approved a proposal to allow employees to select life insurance coverage for his or her spouse. The premium will be deducted from the employee’s salary and would not be a cost to the city.
  • The council went into a 10-minute executive session to discuss personnel. Manning was included in the meeting. No action was taken on return to open meeting.

The next meeting of the Peabody City Council will be at 7 p.m. Nov. 25 in the city building.

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