During Tuesday night's meeting of the Leadington Board of Aldermen, Mayor Dustin Winick put owners of dilapidated, dangerous and abandoned properties on notice that the city plans to start condemning the public nuisances and, after all the necessary legal steps have been taken, start tearing them down.

"We've got a couple of houses here in town that are far exceeding what they should have been allowed to go to," he said. "It kind of falls back on my shoulders and others also that they got this far. Now we just needed to clean up our ordinance to make sure what we did going forward was legal and correct."

City Attorney Mark Bishop told Winick that he hadn't actually made any changes to the current ordinance and had only checked it over to make sure it covered all the bases.

"I, of course, would like to have it all codified and more organized, but I think you have enough there that I can work with and we can get this done," he said.

Bishop then went over the step-by-step legal process required to deal with such properties and told Winick that Police Chief Dustin McKinney, who also fills the role of building inspector for the city, needs to gather both photographic evidence at each property and then send them to him to get the process started. He stressed that the city rarely recovers any back taxes or other costs in the process and that it usually turns out to be a financial loss for the city who has to pay for the demolition.

Since there were no changes made to the city ordinance, there was no need for the board to vote on the matter and both Winick and Bishop said they were ready to move forward.

McKinney announced that a Trunk or Treat program will be held on the evening of Oct. 28 at Elizabeth Plaza. The starting time, which will be during the evening hours, has not been determined as of yet, but will be announced soon.

"It's going to be a really nice time for the kids," McKinney said. "There will be a haunted house at Battlefield Laser Tag, the grand opening of Universal Fitness with bounce houses and other tenants like Pharmax Pharmacy, Big Lots and ProBall Cages will be handing out goodies. We're thinking about having the kids go around to get goodies in the old Kroger building, but we're going to need volunteers to help out."

Winick announced the names on the city's new TIF commission that will be holding its first meeting Oct. 16. Representing the city of Leadington is Winick, Brad Dush, Kary Buckley, Chris Hulsey, Mark Politte and Tracy Fisher; representing Mineral Area College is Al Sullivan Jr.; Representing both the St. Francois County Health Center and the County Board for the Developmentally Disabled is Al Sullivan Sr.; and representing the Central R-3 School District is Superintendent Desi Mayberry and Assistant Superintendent Troy Bollinger.

After discussing the use of an outside hiring firm to find candidates for a 30-hour-per-week assistant city clerk position, the board decided that the city will advertise for candidates through the Daily Journal and other outlets in order to offer a salary of $11 per hour, rather than a lower hourly wage plus a finder's fee.

In other action, the board received a positive audit report from CPA Lori Crump of Maloney, Wright and Robbins; voted to stay with United Healthcare for city employees' health insurance; approved the seeking of bids from the public for the sale of a surplus city dump truck; approved payment of a repair bill on the police department's Dodge Charger in the amount of $787; OK'd up to 40 advertising banners for local businesses through the Park Hills-Leadington Chamber of Commerce; and approved an amendment to the employee policy manual regarding family leave.

Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or kjenkins@dailyjournalonline.com

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