CHRISMAN – A residence where trash accumulates in the backyard and the occupants consistently disturb the peace has neighbors wanting something done.
The Chrisman City Council was provided photos Monday, Oct. 15, of a property in the city where trash is piled in the backyard and heard claims when police respond to the location the residents refuse to answer the door. Neighbors said they are tired of calling the police only to have nothing happen.
“We have been there multiple times,” said police chief Jordan Hale, adding there is a limit to what police can do in such situations. “We can’t kick in the door.”
Hale said the home’s occupant has received numerous citations, which are being ignored.
One of the neighbors complained she is often awakened by what she described as screaming and yelling coming from the residence. Both Hale and city mayor Dan Owen said neighbors must continue calling police when such breaches of the peace occur.
It was suggested the house is currently without water and electric service.
“The fact they don’t have utilities changes things,” said Owen.
City attorney Richard Kash agreed, saying he will confer with Hale about a course of action due to the lack of utilities. Hale also promised to consult the neighbors and take written complaints about the nuisance property.
Another problem area is making some progress.
Commissioner Rick Jenness reported the state licensed trapper of nuisance wildlife hired by the city submitted a bill for removing five more skunks since the Oct. 1 city meeting when the council authorized another $1,000 to capture the varmints using derelict or abandoned buildings as dens.
Such buildings were the reason for Kash’s presence at the meeting. Kash said the easiest course of action is for the city to buy such properties when they come up for tax sales. That provides the city with a clean deed and the ability to demolish without concerns over private property rights.
The attorney added two of the properties in question already sold for taxes and deeds are in the hands of absent owners, including a partnership in Chicago. The third property comes up for a tax sale in May.
Owen expressed frustration at a system he described as a big loop in which abandoned properties with delinquent taxes cannot be touched because the last owner of record can’t be found or refuses to respond and when properties do finally sell for default on taxes the new owners also ignore their responsibilities to the property and city.
Having an owner of record and a conveyed deed does provide the city someone to go after for citations and other actions.
“I want you to use every legal vehicle you have to get these properties moving,” Owen said to Kash.