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New Albany Board of Aldermen give owner chance to save house, June 2015

Action by the New Albany aldermen at their June 2nd meeting may give the owners of a local house the opportunity to save it from demolition.

Along with routine city business, the city board’s action regarding the house may result in resolving a matter the board has been dealing with since 2013. Acting as authorized by the city code, and after due notice, the city condemned the duplex at 507-509 Hilson Street as “unfit for human habitation or use.

Condemned

Soon after the condemnation notice was posted on the structure, its owner, a Corinth resident, sold the house to buyers, who were apparently unaware of its legal status. A court order was obtained enjoining the city from any further action and the new owners and their representatives have made several appearance before the Board of Aldermen.

The matter was considered again at the board’s April 7, 2014 meeting. At that time the board voted to give the new owner two months to present a detailed plan, including cost estimates to bring the building “up to code.” Owner Jose Gutierrez presented a plan and estimates at the June 2, meeting. The owners presented an estimate of $9,000 for the work from Arthur Watson, a remodeling contractor, who was also present Tuesday night.union county boar

City Building Inspector Mike Armstrong told the board he would need time to look at the plans and estimate before giving an opinion as to whether the plan and dollar estimates will bring the building into compliance with the building code.  The board voted 3-2, with Aldermen Jeff Olson and Will Tucker dissenting, to allow the work to move forward if Armstrong finds the plan adequate.

Hilson St. house under discussion by the Board of Aldermen.

Hilson St. house under discussion by the Board of Aldermen.

Another matter from the April meeting also came up for additional discussion. At the April meeting Charles Farrell, representing himself and other homeowners who live near the intersection of Bratton and Martintown Roads, told the board of the persistent problem of motorists speeding in the neighborhood and asked that a three-way stop with flashing lights be installed at the Bratton/Martintown intersection. The board unanimously voted to have the requested improvements made at the intersection.

Because the location is outside the area served by New Albany Lights, Gas and Water (NALGW), the board asked NALGW manager Bill Mattox to contact the REA utility company serving the Bratton/Martintown neighborhood to arrange for utility service for the flashing stop signal. Mattox reported at this week’s meeting that he believes the work can be done before the summer is over,

However, it was also revealed this week that the Mississippi highway department will need to give permission to have the three-way stop installed at the intersection. That authorization from the state is being pursued.

The Board voted Tuesday evening to authorize  to purchase an up-to-date two-way radio system for the police department at a cost of $75,000. The old radios currently in use do not always allow New Albany police officers to communicate with one another or with other law enforcement agencies.

New Albany Tourism and Marketing Director,Sean Johnson, reported $66,418 was collected in tourism sales tax for May, an increase of 22% over May of 2014. General sales taxes were increased by 5% over May of last year. Johnson said plans for the Freedom Fest are progressing and work has started with community groups for the Tallahatchie River Fest in September.

The successful work of Joanne Lesley of the Union County Development Association (UCDA) in generating attendance for the annual CREATE meeting in Tupelo was cited. A cash prize is given each year to the county — outside of Lee County — that has the best attendance at the meeting. This year Union County won a cash prize of $1,000 because her efforts — telephone calls, e-mails, personal visits, etc. — resulted in Union County having the best attendance. Over several years Joanne Lesley’s work generating good attendance from Union County at the annual meeting has resulted in $7,500 being awarded to Union County.

Joanne Lesley, UCDA,

Joanne Lesley, UCDA,

The operator of the veterinary clinic on Highway 30 West wanted to put up a large internally lit sign at his clinic. The New Albany zoning board decided the sign was not in compliance with the city’s controversial 2006 sign ordinance and ruled against allowing the sign. The doctor has appealed the zoning board’s decision, and the Board of Aldermen will hear the appeal at its July 7th meeting.

 

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