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New City Junk Car Ordinance up for Final Passage

March 1, 2019
By: Dwayne Page

The City of Smithville is cracking down on those who keep junked vehicles in plain sight on their properties.

During last month’s special meeting, the aldermen adopted on first reading an ordinance regulating junked vehicles on public and private property in the City of Smithville. Second and final reading action will come following a public hearing during the next meeting Monday night, March 11 at city hall.

The meeting had been scheduled for Monday, March 4 at 6 p.m. but has been postponed until March 11 at 6 p.m. at city hall due to the death in the family of Alderman Gayla Hendrix.

Mayor Josh Miller raised the issue at a meeting on January 7th.

“This is something that has come up and I hear it about vehicles parked everywhere. They are not tagged and have not been driven in five to ten years. It doesn’t look good. I think its time to do something about that. We don’t have an ordinance on that” said Mayor Miller.

“This is something the board and I feel is needful in the city. I think people need to keep their property up to par. I think the city council would agree and I think most of the citizens would agree. I think this will help property values. If you are someone who takes pride in your place and you live beside someone who doesn’t have that same pride in their place it is harmful to the neighborhood and doesn’t look good,” Mayor Miller told WJLE.

Under the ordinance a city police officer is authorized to issue an ordinance summons for violations on private property either upon complaint of any citizen or the officer’s own information. But the city intends to give violators a chance to remove their junked vehicles before taking them to court.

Property owners in violation will be sent a letter from the city asking them to address the violation within 30 days or risk being cited into city court and subject to a $50 civil penalty for each separate violation of the ordinance. Each day of the violation shall be considered a separate violation.

“Once you receive a letter you will have 30 days to get it cleaned up and police officers will have the authority to issue an ordinance summons or citation,” said Mayor Miller.

If the owner of the premises refuses to comply with a court order to correct the violation, the city judge can order the city to take the corrective action and pass the costs onto the property owner. If the property owner fails to pay the bill the city can add further fees on the tax rolls as a lien on the property and collect the fees in the same manner as city taxes are collected.

The ordinance makes exceptions for persons who park, store, keep, and maintain a junked vehicle on private property completely enclosed within a building and not visible from the street or abutting property; if the junked vehicle is in the process of being restored; or if the junked vehicle is parked or stored on property lawfully zoned for business engaged in wrecking, junking, or repairing vehicles.

Final Action Expected on City Annexation Ordinance Monday Night March 11

March 1, 2019
By: Dwayne Page

The City of Smithville plans to annex property off Dry Creek Road into the corporate limits.

The aldermen approved an annexation ordinance on first reading last month and are scheduled to adopt it on second and final reading following a public hearing Monday night, March 11 at 6 p.m. at city hall.

The meeting had been scheduled for Monday, March 4 at 6 p.m. but has been postponed until March 11 at 6 p.m. at city hall due to the death in the family of Alderman Gayla Hendrix.

The property (parcel 44.00 of DeKalb County Tax Map 64) was recently purchased by Jesus Villa who plans to develop a subdivision. A portion of the 12.18 acre site is in the city but the rest is outside the corporate limits.

According to City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson, Villa came before the Smithville Municipal Planning Commission last summer requesting a favorable recommendation for annexation of the property. The commission granted the request on August 13 subject to approval of the Smithville Aldermen.

A plan of services has been prepared for the property as required by law including police and fire protection, water and sewer services, sanitation, street lighting, and other necessary services.

Sheriff’s Department Reports Recent Rash of Car Break-Ins

March 1, 2019
By: Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department is actively investigating several automobile break-ins which occurred overnight Wednesday or early Thursday morning in Liberty, Dowelltown and the area of Dry Creek and New Home Road.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray the reports started coming in Thursday morning. “The thieves are targeting unlocked vehicles parked in residential driveways at night and have stolen money, an air soft gun, a .22 caliber rifle, among other things”.

Sheriff Ray is asking you to be aware of suspicious vehicles or people in your neighborhood and report it to Central Dispatch at 615-215-3000 so a deputy can be dispatched to your location.

You are also urged to keep your outbuildings and vehicles locked when you are away. If you have any information on who might be committing these thefts, please contact Sheriff Ray at 615-597-4935 extension 7. All calls are kept confidential.

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