In a relatively brief meeting Monday night, members of the Benld City Council agreed to pay for a recently completed structural engineer’s assessment of a former bank building at 223 East Central Avenue and to send a notice to the current owner, Real Tax Developers, along with a copy of the engineer’s report.
The measures are the latest steps in the council’s efforts to deal with the deteriorating commercial building on the city’s Main Street. The engineer’s report reportedly documents areas of structural deficiencies and concludes it would probably be more cost-effective to demolish the building than to repair it. The council also directed the Maintenance Department to barricade sidewalks around the building as a result of the engineer reporting that an awning and other features of the building are unstable and in danger of falling. The cost of the engineer’s work was $1,500.
The notice to Real Tax Developers, which bought the parcel for back taxes, provides notice that the building has been declared a public nuisance and demands the company abate the nuisance.
Mayor Pro-Tim John Balzraine chaired the meeting in the absence of Mayor Jim Kelly. Ald. Dustin Fletcher also was absent. The panel completed its business in about one hour, 20 minutes of which was spent in executive session with City Attorney Rick Verticchio to discuss legal issues.
In open session, Verticchio updated the council on the status of several court cases filed against various properties in the city.
In other action, the council accepted a bid of $725 to remove a large birds’ nest from the attic of the Civic Center, remove any wildlife that might remain in the attic and make structural repairs to prevent birds from entering the attic in the future.
After some discussion, the council approved a business license for Jordan Smith and Zach Beauchamp to operate a new business, Upsidedown Motor Sports, at 210 S. First St. The address is the location of a former car repair business and Ald. Jerry Saracco pointed out about 25 cars in various states of disrepair remain on the property in violation of city ordinance.
“Are they obligated to take care of that, or is it the responsibility of the old owner?” Saracco wanted to know.
Verticchio suggested sending the new owners a nuisance notice but Saracco suggested first talking to the new owners and former owners before issuing a formal citation. Ald. Jim Tilashalski suggested that an existing ordinance violation should not affect whether or not the city issues a business license. The license was unanimously approved on a motion by Balzraine, seconded by Tilashalski.
Council members voted unanimously to amend an ordinance approved last month to alter the boundaries of the city’s three wards to reflect population changes documented in the last U.S. Census. The amendment corrects an error in the legal description of the wards. The new ward map attached to the ordinance is correct.