El Dorado News

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September 18, 2018
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Council to consider resolution to remove condemned houses

By Tia Lyons
This article was published February 22, 2018 at 5:00 a.m.

A proposed resolution to condemn vacant, dilapidated properties is one of several items that the El Dorado City Council’s will consider during a regular meeting that will begin at 5:30 p.m. today in the Council Chamber of City Hall.

Just prior to the regular meeting, a public hearing will be held for a request by Lion Oil/Delek to close portions of Marsh and Girard streets to help improve safety at the plant.

The city is resuming its condemnation process following a vote by the city council to take $360,000 from the city’s reserve coffers to speed up the schedule of razing condemned structures around town.

Earlier this month, city officials agreed to aggressively attack an ongoing problem with abandoned and unsightly properties around town.

The action was spurred by reports that such properties are being used to stage dogfighting in the city.

A week prior, Union County Animal Control Officer Charles Hartsell, El Dorado police and other city officials responded to an abandoned house on Louisiana Avenue after receiving a tip of dogfighting there.

They found evidence that the illegal activity had taken place and described a gruesome scene, which included a dog whose head been severed.

The house was immediately demolished and Alderman Vance Williamson said at the time that the house had been on the city’s condemnation list for 18 months.

Mayor Frank Hash and Robert Edmonds, director of public works, said city crews had gotten behind on its condemnation schedule because of other projects.

Because of the delay, City Code Enforcement Officer Kirby Craig said he had put the condemnation process on hold, with approximately 40 houses on the condemnation list.

Council members subsequently voted to take $330,000 from city reserves to hire a contractor to complement in-house demolition work performed by the city.

A portion of the money — $30,000 — is being used for overtime pay for the El Dorado Fire Department, who is assisting by burning condemned structures — those that are eligible — for live-fire training exercises.

Aldermen are expected to hear a detailed report on the effort during the council meeting today.

Another $22,907 was taken from reserves to expand the city dog pound by building another pen to handle overflow.

Hartsell, with whom the city contracts to provide dog control services, is also on the council’s agenda today to brief the council on the project and to provide a report on the services he performs for the city.

The council will also consider a proposed ordinance to waive competitive bidding for the fire department to replace three cardiac monitors.

Aldermen previously approved the purchase as part of a package of capital improvement expenditures for the fire, police and public works departments.

In late January, Fire Chief Chad Mosby explained that one of three companies that supply the monitors has gone out of business.

He said the EFD received quotes from the other two companies, noting that one quote was significantly higher than the $110,000 quote that was submitted by the third company.

Mosby also said the EFD has previously done business with the third company.

Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or tlyons@ eldoradonews.com.

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