Sabetha City Commission reviews code enforcement

After almost two months, the Sabetha City Commission resumed the code enforcement discussion at its meeting on Monday, May 14. Present for the 6 p.m. meeting were Mayor Doug Clark, Commissioners Norm Schmitt, Nick Aberle, Maridel Wittmer and Julie Burenheide, City Administrator Doug Allen and Assistant City Administrator Bill Shroyer. Also present were Sabetha Police Chief Robert Wahwasuck, the city’s attorney Martin Mishler and patron Robert Ruddick.

Code enforcement

Police Chief Wahwasuck presented his police report. After his police report, he discussed code enforcement with the commission.

Wahwasuck says he talks to people who are in violation of city codes and he “always works with them.”

Commissioner Burenheide asked the details of the code on junk vehicles. Wahwasuck explained that residents in violation have 10 days to move the vehicle if it does not run or is untagged. It cannot sit in any one spot on a property for more than 30 days.

Wahwasuck said he has been working with a gentleman from Hiawatha for the past few months who is experienced in dealing with junk vehicles. He has been hauling the vehicles off, which is very beneficial to the Sabetha Police Department since they no longer have to find a place to store the junk vehicles.

Burenheide also inquired as to the code on height of grass. Wahwasuck said it is approximately 10 to 12 inches. The city does have an ordinance on this, which allows the property owner 48 hours to get it mowed.

The commissioners discussed a property on North Sixth Street that has been an issue for quite some time. Commissioners discussed with Wahwasuck a plan of action for this property.

“What I would like us to do as a commission is to be more proactive in identifying areas that need improved,” Commissioner Schmitt said. “A positive, more active approach and come up with a more proactive plan.”

Schmitt went on to explain that property deteriorates over time, and some property owners are unable to properly care for their property due to their age or financial situation.

“But people are prideful, so we have to be careful [in our approach],” Schmitt said.

Schmitt suggested a program where the city purchases houses that are in disrepair and tear them down — specifically ones that are not being occupied. Commissioners asked Wahwasuck to take an inventory of properties in violation of city codes that are not currently occupied.

Also at the meeting:

Commissioners entered into a 15-minute executive session to discuss personnel. After an additional 15-minute executive session, no binding action was taken.

The following municipal appointments were approved: Steve Compo as City Clerk; Robert Wahwasuck as Police Chief; Jim Johnson as Fire Chief; David Herbster as City Treasurer; Martin Mishler as City Attorney; Elizabeth Deiter as Municipal Judge; and Doug Brammer as EMS Director.

Commissioners also approved the following:

• April 23 meeting minutes;

• Wage Resolution No. 2018-06 for Sabetha Police Officer Paul Streeter;

• Wage Resolution No. 2018-7 for Brett Stallbaumer as lifeguard, and Melissa Bradbury as assistant manager for Sabetha Aquatic Center.

Commissioners approved the following board appointments:

• Miranda Livengood to Mary Cotton Public Library Board;

• Amy Saylor reappointed to the Parks and Recreation Board;

• Scott Aberle and Mary Ryan, reappointed to Sabetha Cemetery Board;

• Scott Wedel, reappointed to the Sabetha Planning Board;

• Roger Young, reappointed to the Sabetha Tree Board;

• Curtis Keim, Donna Whitten, Dan Kellenberger, Lesha Koch, Lori Hoppe, Bob Steiner, Bill Simpson and Michael Goodman, reappointed to the Tourism Board.

City Administrator Allen said there are still board spots open as follows:

• Parks and Recreation, one spot;

• Planning Commission, three spots;

• Tree Board, four spots;

• Tourism Board, two spots.

The meeting scheduled for Monday, May 28, was canceled due to the Memorial Day holiday. The commissioners’ next regular meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, June 11.

Krista Wasinger70 Posts

Krista Wasinger is Co-Editor of The Sabetha Herald, where she has been on staff since 2011. She specializes in city reporting and feature stories, as well as photography and page and advertising design. Krista is a 2004 Fort Hays State University graduate with a degree in communications studies with an emphasis in journalism. She lives in Sabetha with her husband and four children.

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