• Last modified 1614 days ago (Nov. 19, 2014)


Homeowner upset he needs a front door

Staff writer

A homeowner confronted the Hillsboro City Council on Tuesday and accused city officials of harassing him by way of forcing him to hire a contractor to install a front door on his home.

Kevin Tidwell’s home at 206 West B St. is one of four properties the city council identified last month as needing repairs to be brought up to code. The council set a public hearing Jan. 6 to gather information before either ordering work completed or condemning the structures.

Tidwell sparred with City Administrator Larry Paine for nearly 11 minutes at the start of Tuesday’s city council meeting, with the two often talking over each other to make their point.

Tidwell presented several photographs of houses in Hillsboro he said are in disrepair much worse than his.

“None of those houses have been fixed,” Tidwell said. “Most have been empty for years and are falling down on themselves and nothing has ever been said about those. And yet my house I live in comfortably. I have no issues. I just don’t have a front door.”

Tidwell said he has lived in Hillsboro for nine years and his current home for two years. He removed his front door about eight months ago and replaced it with plywood.

“I don’t use that part of the house,” Tidwell said. “I don’t believe I need to pay for heating and air conditioning for that portion of the house if I’m not going to use it.”

Paine said that Fire Chief Ben Steketee, who is also the city’s Code Enforcement Officer, sent Tidwell a notice to make the repairs this summer but Tidwell ignored the notice.

“I haven’t ignored it,” Tidwell said.

“You have ignored it,” Paine said. “You have ignored it. Ben gave you notice. And you come back here and say, council, I’m being harassed. You’re not being harassed. You’re being told you have a problem and you need to fix it.”

Last year, the city ordered Tidwell and several other residents to clean up junk on their properties. On Tuesday, Tidwell said he’s willing to install a front door on his house.

“The only things I did remove was the three pins, and the door latch, and took the door off,” Tidwell said. “I told Ben all I have to do is go outside and grab the door and put it back on.”

Tidwell said he even installed a door for neighbor across the street, although Paine said Tidwell is not a licensed contractor and cannot perform that kind of work.

“If I’m told I need to put a front door in, I’ll put one in,” Tidwell said. “But I don’t think I should be required to hire somebody when I can do it myself.”

“Let me reiterate what Ben has told you,” Paine said. “Ben has told you he has lost confidence in your ability to do anything on the property to meet code. You have repeatedly done work that has not met the code. From that perspective, that’s why you are required to have a contractor.”

“What about those photos I provided (of those properties) that have not been taken care of the last nine years I’ve lived in this town?” Tidwell said.

“I haven’t looked at the pictures,” Paine said. “I would bet you that some of the pictures that are there are pictures of properties we’re working on.”

“How come when I’ve asked-” Tidwell said.

“How come, how come, how come,” Paine said. “Don’t worry about how come. Worry about Kevin. You’re only responsible for your property. You’re not responsible for property everywhere else in this town.”

Tidwell would not back down.

“Those (properties) are falling down and they’re worried about me having a front door on my house,” Tidwell said. “That’s all I have to say about that.”

“You need to worry about Kevin Tidwell and not worry about anyone else,” Paine said.

After Tidwell left, city council members later in the meeting suggested that a time limit for public comments might be appropriate.

“At this point in this community, you have had just a few instances where that has been a problem,” Paine said. “At this point, I wouldn’t do it. I’m not going to put (Mayor) Delores (Dalke) under the bus, but the responsibility of the chair is to help control that.

“We do a very good job of dealing with folks who come to talk,” Paine said. “Sometimes when they have real legitimate concerns, the mayor allows for that, but there are some that just need to understand.”

“I have thought about that a couple of times this last year,” Dalke said. “But it doesn’t happen that often. At some point maybe we should look at doing it.”

In other city council business:

  • Walmart awarded the construction bid to a general contractor to build the neighborhood market in Hillsboro, Paine said. City officials expect the contractor to come to city hall within the next three weeks and purchase the building permit for about $25,000, and then construction will begin. The store is expected to open in March or April, Paine said.
  • The council approved the purchase of a Toro 3040 field groomer for the city’s sports complex. The city will pay $17,757 for the groomer, and the Hillsboro Recreation Commission will pay $7,291 for the accessories.
  • After the city council’s executive session lasted an hour and fifteen minutes, council members canceled a work session to discuss utility rate adjustments that was scheduled to take place following the executive session. The stated reason for the executive session was attorney-client privilege.

Last modified Nov. 19, 2014