Council approves demolitions



March 25, 2014 - 12:00 AM

Despite objections from the resident, Iola city council members approved a home for demolition during their meeting Monday evening; based on their opinion, it’s in her best interest.
Arnetta Mock appeared before the council to request they grant her the option to repair her home at 423 S. Kentucky before acting on the demolition request, made by Code Services Officer Shonda Jefferis.
Jefferis said the home has been an issue for over a year. Holes in the roofing have caused water damage and most likely mold issues in the house. Mock lives there full time with her six dogs (under city code only four animals are allowed in a home).
“I’ve got to have a place to live,” she said.
Due to holdups following the original homeowners’ divorce, Mock does not currently have the home in her name. Any repairs would be ill advised, the council said, because the homeowner could technically reclaim the home at any time. Mock said she has been quoted at around $5,000 to repair the roof, not including water damage and mold removal. The value of the home is approximately $6,000, she said.
“At this point, it would not be a good investment,” Administrator Carl Slaugh said.
“If I were you, I would take that $5,000 (for the repairs) and look for a new house,” Councilman Bob Shaughnessy added.
Mayor Joel Wicoff said the council’s “hands were tied” due to their building code regulations. The difference between the cost of repairs and the value of the home must be large enough to warrant renovation — this home does not meet those guidelines under the building codes.
The council ultimately voted to demolish the home. Mock has 30 days to file a permit for demolition, then 90 days to vacate the premises — a total of 120 days to find a new place to live.
“For your safety, this is the right decision,” Council member Beverly Franklin said.
Two other homes were approved for demolition as well, one at 821 North St. and the other at 208 N. Chestnut.

— Mayor Joel Wicoff proclaimed the month of April Fair Housing Month in Iola.
— The 2012 International Building Codes were adopted by the city council.
— The council approved purchase of a new Ford Explorer for the police department from Twin Motors Ford for $26,926.
— John Lord was awarded the bid for mowing services in the city of Iola. His rate is $45 per hour.
— EMS Insurance’s policy was renewed by the council for $342,291. The contract runs through March 31, 2015.
— Tim Thyer was appointed as interim fire chief while the council interviews candidates to replace former chief Donald Leapheart.