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Rogers hires attorney; road closure saga continues

Staff writer

Residents Kenny Rogers and Joan Berg had a lawyer in tow at Monday’s city council meeting after no action was taken at the April 9 meeting concerning an abandoned road that gives Rogers access to a field behind his house.

After 15 minutes of discussion came up empty-handed of a resolution at the last meeting, council member Travis Wilson made a motion to refer the matter to the city attorney for clarification of the ordinance.

“When you said something about a lawyer, I decided to get mine, too,” Rogers said of his attorney, Stephen Johnson of Cornerstone Law LLC.

“I wanted to make sure everyone knows that this does not land lock him,” said mayor Larry Larsen.

Johnson said that without a public hearing the initial closure of the road was invalid. He also said he had been in contact with Peabody’s city attorney, Rob Lane.

After a lengthy discussion concerning the exact location of the road along with the events leading up to its closure and the legality behind those, Larsen interjected with the possibility of a solution.

“Kenny and his household, the Barnes’, and the Watsons need to meet and find out what everyone wants,” said Larsen. “The best thing in my mind is for them to sit down and come up with some type of agreement. There’s not the need for people to be angry with one another or for attorneys.”

Johnson agreed, noting that usually when an attorney gets involved with fences, it can get emotional.

“The first thing I asked my client is, ‘have you talked to your neighbor,”’ Johnson said. “Usually there’s a solution. We agree that’s the best thing to do.”

Council also heard from Dale and Kim Nellans, who said they are in the process of moving to a home in the 800 block of Locust St. and are interested in purchasing a well on the neighboring lot.

“I would like to purchase it,” said Dale Nellans. “I don’t know how good it is or not, but it would be good enough to water the lawn.”

After receiving input from Public Works Director Ronnie Harms, and a question from Wilson on the necessity of closed bids, Larsen said city officials wouldn’t be against selling the well.

“We want to sell it, but we’re unsure how we want to go through the process,” said Larsen. “Sounds like the city is interested in transferring it out; in the meantime we’ll find out for sure. We’ll be in touch with you once we find out what Ronnie’s got going on so it’s all done proper.”

Murray Walker addressed council members to dispute a bill he received from the city claiming they mowed his grass in the 800 block of Chestnut St.

“I got a letter from the city saying they mowed my lawn,” he said. “Nobody mowed that. I’m there every day, and I don’t believe in paying for something that didn’t happen.”

Police chief Bruce Burke said that while it is generally protocol to take before and after pictures, that when this particular work order was completed, there were no after pictures attached.

The council looked at both Burke and Harms for answers.

“Because there weren’t pictures I think we should scratch it this time,” said Harms. “We’ll get pictures from now on.”

“If we didn’t follow through with what our employees are supposed to do, it’s on us in my opinion,” said Wilson. “I don’t want to penalize him for not mowing his yard when we didn’t do our part.”

Wilson also commented on lack of clarity of the before photograph that was presented.

Burke explained that although the bill originally went out in August, a final bill was recently mailed before uncollected debts were placed on the tax roll.

“We’ve started using a ruler in the pictures since then,” he said.

Council voted unanimously to dismiss the charges for Walker.

Marion County Community Economic Development Corporation members presented an update on the organizations progress. MCCEDC has not yet hired an executive director.

“I needed to hear the opinion of the people who appointed me,” said Hannah Bourbon, one of two directors from Peabody.

Last modified May 3, 2018

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