September 17, 2008 EditionAlso in this issue...
WR discusses stricter ordinancesThe Walnut Ridge City Council discussed the need for new cleanup and animal control ordinances as well as a new building code during their meeting on Sept. 10.
Legal advice is needed to draft the new ordinances and code, but the city has not had an attorney to handle the council's civil matters since the resignation of City Attorney Larry Steele at the end of May. Ryan Cooper, an attorney from Imboden who has an office here, was hired in June and handles criminal matters for the city.
Alderman Jonathan Sanders informed the council that Jordan Camp of Pocahontas is interested in the job of city attorney for Walnut Ridge.
"He is young, smart and should do a good job," Sanders said. "He is currently the Randolph County public defender and has his own private practice."
A motion was made and passed for Mayor Michelle Rogers to meet with Camp to discuss the position with him.
The council addressed the need for a more effective cleanup ordinance for the city. Alderman Michael "Button" Wallin told aldermen that the city has been getting several complaints about abandoned houses and houses that have been burned out and not cleaned up after fires.
"They are a public nuisance; kids could get inside them and fall through the floor or get hurt in other ways," Wallin said.
Walnut Ridge Fire Chief Alan Haskins told the council that there are about 100 homes and buildings that need to be repaired or condemned.
Mayor Rogers formed a committee to work on a stricter ordinance. The committee will need to work with legal council to produce an ordinance that can help eliminate many of the cleanup problems. Committee members include council members Johnnie Fears, Paula Haskins and Wallin, along with Walnut Ridge Police Chief Leslie Gates, Fire Chief Alan Haskins and Code Enforcement Officers Quinton Cato and Robert Rice.
The city is also having a problem with dogs running loose. Rogers told the council that the city gets calls every day about dogs, and that the problem seems to get worse all the time.
She appointed Aldermen Sanders, Wendell Jones and Dirk Davis, as well as Gates, Alan Haskins, Cato and Rice to a committee to see how the city can best handle the problem. They will also need legal advice as to the many laws governing animal control.
Chief Haskins informed the council that the city needs a new building code. The state took the International Code and added addendums to it, he said. "The Southern Building Code we are working under now has been replaced by the International Code, and we need legal advice to draw up our code," Haskins said.
He also asked the council's permission to sell some items the fire department no longer needs, with the proceeds of the sale going back into the department's fund. The council voted unanimously to allow the sale.
Alderwoman Paula Haskins asked that the city put a crosswalk at the intersection of Northwest Second and West Walnut to protect children and adults as they walk to the Lawrence County Library's new location on West Walnut Street.
"That's a busy intersection and people don't always stop at the stop signs there. We need the crosswalk for safety reasons," she said.
The council voted to put in crosswalks at all four stop signs and also add needed signage.
In other business: