BY DAVID FISHER
GLEASON (November 15) — Members of the Gleason City Board approved the first reading of a slum ordinance, during their regular monthly meeting on Monday, November 15.
City Attorney Beau Pemberton informed the board that the slum ordinance is patterned after similar ordinances enacted by neighboring municipalities.
Pemberton stated, while an existing ordinance deals with dangerous and unsafe properties, the proposed slum ordinance provides the language, definition and protocol for getting rid of dilapidated buildings.
“The City of Gleason, under Chapter 13, Title 2, of your municipal code has a dangerous building ordinance that deals with dangerous structures,” Pemberton said. “It goes into the duties of the mayor and duties of the city attorney and things of that nature, as far as getting rid of dangerous buildings; but, it doesn’t actually give the city board a lot of oversight.”
Pemberton explained the slum ordinance is a little bit more extensive and broadens the board’s authority to address the problem of dilapidated properties in the City of Gleason.
“It gives you an extra tool in your tool belt, so to speak,” he said. “This deals with dangerous buildings that are declared unfit for human occupation, and gives the board more leeway if you want to employ a building inspector on a case-by-case basis, who can determine what is specifically wrong with residential properties. It gives a little more muscle and complements your dangerous buildings ordinance.” Pemberton said it gives appellate rights to those that have buildings and gives the board enforcement authority as far as property owners are concerned.
“It details the procedure for filing a petition, and gives the board the ability to proceed under any part of the city ordinance, if you choose to adopt it.
“There are several buildings in town that may qualify for this, and it would allow you to site property owners under either the dangerous building ordinance or the slum ordinance.”
Pemberton noted the slum ordinance specifies, if the City of Gleason incurs expenses from the condemnation of buildings, it gives the city the ability to place liens on the properties. This would allow the city to recoup the expense of demolishing a building, if necessary.
“I think this is a move in the right direction,” Mayor Charles Anderson said. He noted the slum ordinance will allow the city to clean up some residential structures in a bad state of repair.
The board approved the slum ordinance on first reading by a vote of 4-1, with Mayor Anderson, and aldermen Tommy Hodges, Wade Cook and Keith Radford voting “yes” and Alderman Mike Bennett “abstaining”.
The slum ordinance must now be approved on second and final reading, following a public hearing, before going into effect.
Pemberton stated, providing the slum ordinance receives final approval, it will be added as a new section to the city code, labeled Chapter 13, Title 201.
Planning Committee Recommends Hiring Community Planner
Presley Frazier announced, during Gleason’s recently-formed Planning Committee, which held its first meeting on October 5, the members recommended hiring Community Planner Donnie Bunton to assist Gleason with developing subdivision regulations and zoning ordinances. Bunton’s job includes meeting with city planning committees and city boards to offer his expertise.
Pemberton stated the board would save money on attorney’s fees to research various zoning issues, since Bunton is a specialist in this area and would most likely know the answers to these questions, because of his years of experience.
Mayor Anderson spoke in favor of hiring Bunton on a 12-month contract, beginning January 1, 2022. However, Bunton stated the city could opt out of the agreement at any time, if it wishes to do so.
The board voted in favor of the request, with Alderman Radford casting the only dissenting vote.
Economic Development Director
Weakley County Economic Development Director Justin Crice introduced himself and advised the board he will provide them with quarterly updates on the status of efforts to bring jobs to Weakley County. Crice stated he will work hard bring industry to Weakley County and to help develop a local skilled workforce to net existing jobs.
In the Parks and Recreation report, discussion centered on devising a better plan for developing city parks.
“We need a better plan for accessing the park,” Alderman Cook said.
He pointed out that vinyl fencing and a parcel of land have been donated toward this cause.
The plan calls for providing ample parking space for park visitors, especially during large events.
It was noted there are grants the city can apply for to improve park facilities.
Mayor Anderson stated a plan will be developed to improve both Snider and Huggins parks.
In other business, Alderman Bennett volunteered to fill the vacancy on the Library Committee and was unanimously approved for the position by fellow board members.
Mayor Anderson stated Gleason is hosting its Hometown Christmas Saturday, December 11 from 5-7 p.m. Vendors are invited. He also announced Gleason is hosting its First Annual Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 11, beginning at 6 p.m. The parade will kick off with Santa lighting the Community Christmas Tree.
Mayor Anderson stated, since Gleason Board’s normal meeting date is the third Monday of each month, the December board meeting would fall on December 20, which is Christmas week. For that reason, the mayor recommended skipping the December meeting, unless there is an urgent need that must be addressed. The board agreed and approved a motion to that effect by unanimous vote.
The next city board meeting is set for Monday, January 17, 2022, beginning at 7 p.m.