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Valley takes action on nuisance properties

VALLEY — In its first meeting of the new year, the Valley City Council on Monday took action on four nuisance properties and sold three lots where abandoned houses once stood.

The council also rejected bids for new police vehicles and approved two budget amendments requested by Valley Police Department.

Two of the abandoned homes being abated are located side by side on Newton Road. Another is located on Railroad Street and the fourth one on 32nd Place. Code Enforcement Officer Reid Riley showed the council slides of the houses showing the advanced state of deterioration. The houses had holes in the roof, the interiors were caked with mold and the wood was rotting away. Many of the windows had been broken out, and one of the homes had partially burned. Each house had been abandoned for at least four years. Mayor Leonard Riley said the photos were self-explanatory.

In a unanimous vote, the council authorized the code enforcement officer to take action to demolish the property. The city’s public works department will be tearing down the houses and cleaning up the lots. The city will then impose liens on the property to recoup the cost of doing this. Eventually, the property will be sold, according to the council.

Three such cleaned-up properties were sold on Monday. Ordinances were read to sell a lot on 65th Street to Penny L. Teague for $1,500, a lot on 23rd Avenue was sold to James and Deborah Kelley for $1,500 and a lot on Johnson Street sold to Faith Congregational Christian Church for $500. The rules were suspended to approve the sales on one reading.

At the recommendation of Police Chief Tommy Weldon, the council rejected a bid offered by King Ford for three new 2020 police package vehicles for a price of $32,311.28. This was $4,300 more than what the city paid in its last similar purchase. Chief Weldon was authorized to negotiate a new rate. Riley said the city is currently waiting on the state bid list.

The council approved a budget amendment to purchase a new drone for the police department at the cost of $8,394.97. Contributions from Ajin, Wooshin, San Marcos and Emanuel Baptist Church, a calendar rebate and forfeiture funds cover the cost of the purchase. Another budget amendment approved by the council is for $500 in insurance money to be applied in repairing a police vehicle.

Weldon wished Councilman Henry Cooper a happy birthday, after which the councilman stood up and took a bow while everyone was smiling. The chief said VPD had gotten lots of complaints about fireworks on New Year’s Eve. A number of the complaints centered around explosions of tannerite.

“It can be purchased legally,” Weldon said. “I talked with the state fire marshal about this, and he told me that it wasn’t being regulated in Alabama at this time.”

The chief said he was making a list of these complaints.

“People are trying to do something about this,” he said. “Pass along these complaints to me, and we’ll see what we can do.”

Councilman Randall Maddux said that more than fireworks were being shot off in his district.

“Someone was firing a rifle,” he said. “A bullet went through someone’s roof on 12th Avenue. This is not good. It’s okay to have fun, but please, let’s use some caution and common sense.”

Public Works Director Patrick Bolt told the council that his department had been busy over the weekend cleaning up storm damage.

“We must have gotten 12 to 14 calls on this,” he said. “Most of it was tree limbs being down on the roads trees leaning over on the right of way. We had it all cleaned up by Sunday.”

Bolt said that resurfacing work has been taking place on Valley Industrial Boulevard behind the Lanier-Carter site.

“We have done a lot of drainage work,” he said. “The binder is down. All that’s left is putting down the wearing surface and the striping.”

Bolt added that Public Works had been doing some work recently at Fairfax Cemetery.

“We’re looking at putting in a new road this spring.”

Planning and Development Director Travis Carter said that volunteers are being sought to help with planning along Moore’s Creek in Langdale. More than 3,000 plants, shrubs and small trees have arrived as part of the stream improvement project that’s been taking place there.

“We have a sign-up sheet for anyone who wants to help,” he said. “Make sure you wear your boots.”

Carter advised residents to be aware that some timber harvesting would be taking place soon near Fairfax Bypass.

Valley Parks and Recreation Director Laurie Blount reported that despite Christmas Merry Go Round season being only 23 days in 2019, it had been a pretty good year. A total of 53,703 riders took part.

“We had everything but snow this year,” she said. “We had some cold days, some rainy days and some days when the temperature was in the 70s. It was a good season overall. A couple of years from now, we will be celebrating our 65th year with the Merry Go Round tradition.”

Blount said Clean-Up Valley Week would be held in early April this year. Electronic recycling will be taking place at the Farmers’ Market Pavilion on Friday, April 3, and Saturday, April 4.

“We hope AmWaste will put out extra trucks that week to pick up curbside yard debris,” she said.

Next Monday is the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The Community Center will have its regular holiday hours from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.