News

Jefferson County supervisors discuss nuisance properties, tuck-pointing courthouse

The father-son pair of Jeff (back) and Cody Smith tuck point the Jefferson County Courthouse. The Jefferson County Supervisors approved a change to the project Monday after learning more work is needed on the courthouse's clock tower. (Andy Hallman/The Union)
The father-son pair of Jeff (back) and Cody Smith tuck point the Jefferson County Courthouse. The Jefferson County Supervisors approved a change to the project Monday after learning more work is needed on the courthouse's clock tower. (Andy Hallman/The Union)

FAIRFIELD – The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors discussed nuisance properties during its meeting Monday at the Jefferson County Courthouse.

Supervisor Lee Dimmitt gave a report to the board on four properties that had been served their final notice from the county. If the property owner does not mitigate the nuisance within 30 days, the county will turn the matter over to RUSS, Regional Utility Service System. The county has a contract with RUSS to handle enforcement of its nuisance ordinance, such as documenting nuisances, mailing notices to the property owners and appearing in court.

Dimmitt said the four properties served had run out of “second chances.” Some of the properties have been a problem for more than four years. Dimmitt said the county doesn’t want to come down harshly on property owners and make them pay a fine. The county wants them to clean up their properties on their own, and more than anything, the supervisors want to see progress is being made to abate a nuisance.

Dimmitt gave an example of someone who lives on Palm Boulevard being informed their property was a nuisance. Members of the man’s church went to his property on two occasion for clean-up days.

“That’s all we’re looking for,” said Dimmitt, who noted that some property owners refuse to take any steps to mitigate their problem.

Dimmitt said that, as long as the county has a nuisance ordinance, it has to apply it fairly to everyone.

“We either enforce the ordinance or repeal it,” he said. “We can’t pick and choose who we’re going to enforce it on.”

If a property owner refuses to abate their nuisance, the county hires a contractor to clean up the junk. The county sends an invoice for that work to the property owner, and if they fail to pay, it’s assessed onto their property taxes. If the owner is later delinquent on those property taxes, the property goes up for sale.

The four properties that were served notices were:

• 1188 Brookville Road near Batavia

• 2457 Indigo Boulevard near Libertyville

• 1074-1076 Cedar Avenue near Packwood

• 2756 Hickory Avenue near Birmingham

Dimmitt mentioned that there is a fifth nuisance property but the county has decided not to pursue that at the moment.

In other news, the supervisors approved a change order for the tuck-pointing at the courthouse. The contractor, E & H Restoration of Davenport, discovered the clock tower needed more work than initially thought. Their discovery was aided by a drone. The extra work to the clock tower will cost about $14,500, still within the project’s budget and still lower than the engineer’s estimate.