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ALGER — The Alger community is working against the clock to remove the remains of a home at 401 N. Main St.
Council hopes to have the debris removed from the property prior to the annual Memorial Day Parade, which is routed past the eyesore. Research by their legal advisor may make that action possible.
The property is owned by Tom Dunifon, but is in the process of being foreclosed on by Wells Fargo. But, said Solicitor Aaron Bensinger, Dunifon is still the legal owner of the property and could give the town authority to remove the trash and assess the cost on his property taxes.
In messages left by Bensinger with Wells Fargo, the solicitor said, there is no value in the debris and the value of the property would increase with its removal. With permission from Dunifon and Wells Fargo, said Bensinger, the village could use volunteers or community workers to clean the property.
“If they still don’t sign, we can proceed with the ordinance,” said Bensinger.
“It is absolutely atrocious,” Councilman Don Hensley said of the property. “Let’s get this done.”
The process used to address the nuisances in the village is being reviewed by council with changes to the ordinance to be considered at council’s next meeting on April 16. Bensinger is proposing offenders be given 14 days to resolve nuisance notifications instead of the ten days now given by council.
The updated ordinance would also allow council to sell scrap from demolished eyesores to recoup the costs, said Bensinger. Those notified will be given a chance to present their case to council before legal action is taken if the new regulations are approved.
The board of public affairs was told of an investigation into the use of village water to fill a pond. The village bills most residents a flat monthly rate.
Board chairman Don Webb said the village had used 235,000 gallons of water within eight hours recently, which caused village officials to question the usage. The water is allegedly being delivered through a 150-foot hose, said Webb. If the investigation reveals the water is being used in that manner, he continued, the village may require a meter to be installed on the resident’s service.
A decision on a request to council from Belmont Court owner Les Dunlap was stalled when Dunlap declined to sign a liability waiver with the village. He is proposing to build a concrete wall for mailboxes at his trailer park. Bensinger advised council to secure the waiver before proceeding with approval.
Mayor David Allen and Councilman Mike Miller said they thought Dunlap’s plan would increase safety in the area. Councilwoman Jennifer Dye said she didn’t oppose the plan, but felt council should take the advice of its legal counsel.
In other business, council:
– Learned the board of public affairs will meet in a work session at 4:15 p.m. Thursday at the village offices.
– Heard Mayor Allen report he had talked with the owners of the dairy and grain elevator about heavy trucks using the village side streets. “We need to work together,” said Allen of the situation.
– Was told the next Block Watch program meeting is April 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the social center.
– Discussed compensating a resident whose car was damaged by a pothole.
– Heard Dunlap ask council to force CSX to clean the abandoned railroad bed which runs past his trailer park.
– Heard an update on improvements made to the village park by the Alger Ball Association.
By DAN ROBINSON
Times staff writer