Butler County Times Gazette
  • Dilapidated State St. property razed

  • Another home that has fallen into disrepair has been demolished by the City of Augusta.
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  • Another home that has fallen into disrepair has been demolished by the City of Augusta.
    The home at 1210 N. State St. owned by Carl Hime was knocked down and the debris is being removed this week.
    Hime was granted 60 days to clean up the property and restore the house to habitable condition. On July 31, he received a demolition permit from the city but according to City inspector Dan Allen, no significant work has been done on the property since the permit was pulled.
    "Nothing has been done," Allen said. "He was here Friday and said someone would be doing the work Monday but they didn't show up."
    Allen said the cost to demolish the home will be $4,000 and that will be added to the almost $10,000 in back taxes and mowing charges that are already leveed against the property.
    When the matter first came before the council, Hime told the governing body that he had plans to repair the structure and turn it into a museum. Those plans never came to fruition.
    The council took no action to stop the proceedings so demolition proceeded as planned.
    Trash talk
    About 18 months ago, the Augusta City Council faced a decision when they learned that two of the sanitation trucks would soon need to be replaced.
    That led to a discussion of whether to keep the service as it is, change to automated trucks and polycarts or contract with a private company to haul the city's trash.
    After creating a special committee and more than a year of discussions, the governing body voted in July not to privatize the city's sanitation service.
    The route they chose to pursue involved a switch to one pick-up per week with poly carts and automated trucks that pick up those carts rather than having sanitation workers riding on the back of vehicles.
    When the measure passed unanimously, it included a new rate schedule that would increase the cost to residents in order to begin saving money now to pay for the new trucks and carts that will be needed in the new system.
    But when the council faced the idea of enacting the increased rates included in the plan it approved, several members of the governing body had reconsidered the idea of raising rates.
    The new rates – which will increase monthly costs to residents from $13 to $14.50 – passed 5-2 with Matt Malone and Sue Jones voting against. Holly Harper was absent Monday night.
    Councilor Malone asked if the city could wait to increase rates since the plan was to enter into a lease-purchase agreement on the new truck while the city determined how each area of town would be serviced.
    Page 2 of 2 - "That would give us a year to look at fees and savings with that truck and see if the increase is necessary," he said.
    City Manager Bill Keefer said he believed the increase was necessary.
    "When we passed the budget, the sanitation department had the higher rates built in since it was already approved by the council," Keefer said. "Without the increase, we will have to look at whether we can do this without putting that fund in jeopardy."
    Keefer said the small increase was also designed to let the city pay as it goes rather than going into debt to fund purchases.
    "We are going to be purchasing a new truck next year and we are trying to minimize the debt on the truck and new containers," Keefer said.
    Councilor Mike Rawlings also took issue with not approving a small increase in rates.
    "We always put it off," he said of past councils. "We don't make these small adjustments and then when it is too late, we have to have a $5 increase because we waited. We get to this point and then someone wants to cut back."
    Currently, the sanitation fund makes a profit of about 5-7% which will be used to help fund the capital improvements when the change is made to polycarts. Josh Shaw, Assistant to the City Manager, said that he believes there will also be some cost savings in the new system that will increase profitability.
    Councilor Mike Wallace made the motion to approve the rate increase with Matt Childers seconding the motion.
    It passed 5-2.
    Councilor Mike Huddleston asked Shaw when it would be announced which areas of the city will be the first to go to the new system.
    Shaw said the plan was being finalized and he would bring it before the council before it is enacted.

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