The Dadeville City Council unanimously approved June 25 an amendment to an ordinance to simplify the way unsafe buildings and dilapidated structures are declared nuisances.
City attorney Robin Reynolds told the council the procedure to declare such properties as nuisances will start with a new form complainants can fill out and submit to the city instead of filing a police incident report.
According to the amendment of Ordinance 484, discussion of the complaint will be scheduled on a meeting agenda and the mayor and councilmembers will decide if a property owner should be notified. At that point, a certified letter would be sent and the property owner would have at least 30 days to respond and be entitled to a public hearing.
“It’s a new form and it streamlines due process,” Mayor Wayne Smith said. “There has been some confusion about the procedure.”
The council voted 5-0 to declare property at 257 Hatcher St. in violation of the ordinance.
In other action at the meeting, the council:
• Voted 5-0 to approve a contract for a Tango Tango communications app for the police department that allows cell phones to be used as walkie talkies. Dadeville Police Department Lt. Jonathan Floyd said communication problems exist at Dadeville High School when police try to contact resource officer Pete Golden.
“There are some bad spots,” Floyd said. “The Tango Tango app turns a cell phone into a walkie talkie. We went to the trouble areas and tested Tango Tango and it was loud and clear at dispatch. I think it’s critical for the safety of our children.”
Floyd said the first year of the contract would cost $982 but he and police chief David Barbour are eliminating their Southern Linc service, saving the city $300. The cost would go down to $882 in the second year.
Golden said difficulty in communicating from the school during an emergency could be tragic.
“I get a fraction of the traffic,” he said. “When (the police department) wants to get me, they have to call me on my cell phone. And I can’t (get a signal) out.”
Councilmember Dick Harrelson questioned Floyd about the cost, indicating the Tallapoosa County School System should share in the expense, but Floyd said Tango Tango will be used in many facets of police work.
“It will be used elsewhere,” he said. “Six of us will have access to it. It won’t be used just in the school.”
• Approved declaring city vehicles and miscellaneous equipment as surplus so they can be sold at auction. The list includes three trucks, two sedans, a tractor, two mowers and a cabinet.
• Heard councilmember Roy Mathis ask if the city can get grant funding to remove trees in danger of falling on public rights of way. He pointed out a number of trees have fallen around the city in the last year, including an oak tree on Main Street on June 19.
“We’ve got trees that are dangerous,” Mathis said. “If that one had fallen on somebody’s house it would have demolished it.”
Smith said the council could discuss providing more money for preventive maintenance of trees in the fiscal year 2020 budget and Reynolds said private property owners are liable for any damage caused by their trees if they are notified the trees are a safety hazard.
• Heard from Jonkavious Hollenquest, who inquired about the process to open a sports bar on U.S. Highway 280 near a church. Hollenquest said he would close on Wednesday night and Sunday out of respect for the church and would provide private security. Hollenquest was told he should apply to the state ABC board for a license and if approved can return to the council for a hearing.
• Heard Smith ask those present to remember former Alexander City Mayor Don McClellan in their prayers. McClellan, who at the time of the meeting was in critical condition in an Opelika hospital following a major heart attack Sunday, died early Wednesday morning. McClellan helped bring a number of businesses to Dadeville as the executive director of the Lake Martin Area Economic Development Alliance.
“He’s a good friend to all of us,” Smith said.