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Code Enforcement Officer can write tickets

By Staff, 12/18/18 9:38 AM

PRESCOTT – It’s official. Prescott’s Code Enforcement Officer  (CEO) can write tickets.

This was decided at the December meeting of the Prescott City Council Monday night, where much of the meeting centered around Robbie Fanks’ report as CEO. He told the panel since assuming the position a second time, he’s sent out 163 letters, 89 to the west side of town and 74 to residents on the east side of Prescott about cleaning up their property.

He also told the council Charlie Lawrence has bought the building across from the Nevada County Courthouse and plans on restoring it. Lawrence has already replaced windows in the front and plans, according to Franks, to put up an awning, replace the windows throughout the building as needed, fix the roof then do repairs on the interior.

There’s also movement at the old Prescott Motors building. Franks said the owner was informed of the city’s plans to condemn and demolish all the structures on the property if something wasn’t done. Crews have recently been out boarding up the windows and reportedly doing work inside the main building. However, Franks said, he has no idea what the owner’s plans are for the building once the work is done.

Next on Franks’ list is the old Broadway Hotel. He’s been looking for the owner to see what plans they may have for the building. Franks said Judy Duke would like to get this building on the historic register as it was built in 1910.

From there he turned to house removal, telling the council there are problems in demolishing houses because the city doesn’t own the necessary equipment, which causes delays as track hoes have to be rented and the weather has to cooperate so the structures can be razed. At this time, he said, there are more than 55 houses on the list and there will be that many more in two or three years if the city still doesn’t have the equipment needed to do the job. Another problem, he added, is getting the gas shut off in a timely manner and property owners cleaning the houses out.

The code enforcement officer, he said, has the authority to write tickets and can issue them via certified letter, return receipt requested. “We need to do something. I wasn’t sure if we needed an ordinance,” he said. According to Franks, he and Prescott Police Chief Joey Beavers are waiting to hear from the Arkansas Municipal League on whether an ordinance is needed or not, though an ordinance does exist stating the fines for those who violate code enforcement laws.

In the middle of the council voting on the issue, Councilman Susie Meeks began discussing the situation asking if the tickets would be broken down in such a way as to show what the fines and court costs are separately. This broke protocol as discussion had ended and the vote was underway. However, instead of the vote continuing, the council began discussing it a second time. Beavers and Franks both told the panel the existing ordinance shows what the fines are, but it’s up to the District Judge to determine court costs. Anyone getting ticketed can find out what they owe by calling the PPD or going to court with the citation. Eventually, the council approved Franks writing tickets.

He ended his portion of the meeting by telling the council citizens can haul brush and limbs to the county landfill, but not leaves. The city will pick brush and limbs up for those who have no way of getting this refuse to the landfill. It was agreed size limits need to be included in an ordinance to keep overly large items from being put out by the curb.