Hillsboro City Administrator Larry Paine expected Kevin Tidwell who lives at 206 W. B to attend the Tuesday council meeting, but as he had been arrested earlier that day, he did not make an appearance to protest city officials’ handling of a junk vehicle violation.
Paine said Police Chief Dan Kinning arrested Tidwell Tuesday morning on an accusation of assault against a city worker who was cleaning up Tidwell’s property as per city instructions.
City attorney Dan Baldwin presented council members with a statement of legal proceedings in regards to Tidwell’s problems with junk ordinance violations.
In the unsigned statement, Baldwin detailed problems with Tidwell’s place of residence including numerous inoperable vehicles with draining fluids, piles of junk and debris, and scrap items that created an eyesore and potential harborage for rodents or other pests.
Paine said the city of Hillsboro had a documented process they followed when faced with violations like Tidwell’s.
“First we knock on the door and ask them to clean it up,” he said. “If that does not happen then we send a certified letter of notice. The next step is to schedule a hearing with a public officer.”
Paine said Tidwell had requested an appeal in order to gain more time to clean up his yard, but after two additional hearings, a judge ordered Tidwell to remove all cars by 5 p.m. on May 6.
City officials noted that more cars showed up on the property and crew workers were instructed to clean up the mess at Tidwell’s expense Tuesday morning.
“This is not quite the norm for Hillsboro,” Paine said. “But we have to follow our ordinances.”
Tidwell expressed his displeasure with a Facebook message Monday stating, “The city of Hillsboro just messed with the wrong guy. Now it’s war … you screwed up.”
Other residents upset with Hillsboro Code Enforcement Officer Ben Steketee’s attempts to keep Hillsboro looking nice did attend the meeting to voice their concerns.
“I don’t know why you had to go and send me that letter,” Wayne Kennel of 506 E. 1st said. “I have always mowed my lawn in the past, but this year my mower is broken down. I just haven’t been able to get to it yet. You know I will get it mowed.”
Mayor Delores Dalke assured Kennel that the city did not single him out with the tall grass violation letter.
“There were several sent out. You weren’t the only one,” she said.
Steketee added that he sent out at least half a dozen letters to property owners whose grass length violated city codes.
Theresa Wright, also of 506 E. 1st said her family did not need the extra stress of the letter right now, with health issues and confusion about who actually owned the house they lived in.
“My dad lives in Oklahoma and had heart surgery,” she said. “My parents divorced and we thought the house was left to mom and us kids, but no one seems to know where the actual deed to the property is. This letter should not have been addressed the way it was.”
Dalke asked Wright to come to her office today so she could help her find answers to her questions. Steketee noted that a neighbor had already mowed Kennel’s lawn so the residence was no longer in violation of city codes.