Lebanon Junction to take action to clean up house

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By Alex Wimsatt

 LEBANON JUNCTION – Nearly a year after Railroad Avenue residents first petitioned city officials to do something about the run-down properties along their street, the Lebanon Junction City Council recently took actin to acquire one of the properties. 

During their January regular meeting, council members voted in favor of taking legal action to acquire one of the dilapidated properties along the street that runs parallel to the CSX railroad line near downtown Lebanon Junction.

Shortly after Railroad Avenue residents took their concerns to City Hall the spring of 2012, city officials approached the owner of 157 Railroad Ave. with hopes of securing  the property by paying off the back property taxes owed to the county. 

 And while the property owner was supposed to get back with the city, Lebanon Junciton Mayor Butch Sweat said he never did.  

Even before area residents appealed to city officials to clean up Railroad Avenue, Sweat said the city was working to demolish the abandoned homes, which have burned or simply fallen into disrepair due to neglect.

Sweat said he understood other cities had the authority to demolish structures that are considered a nuisance or pose a threat to the general public, but Lebanon Junction did not. 

It was on April 2, 2012, when the council voted to pursue the property at 157 Railroad Avenue. 

During their last regular meeting council members voted to take legal action to secure the property. 

Councilman Mark Shumaker Sr. made the motion.. The motion passed unanimously, with the exception of Councilman Tim Sanders, who abstained from the vote. 

In other business:

*The council approved a resolution honoring the five members of the Bullitt County Public Schools Board, Dolores Ashby, Darrell Coleman, Roger Hayes, Lorraine McLaughlin and Tim Wiseheart. 

“Now therefore, I, (Mayor and Council Members) resolve to express appreciation to these members of the Bullitt County Board of Education and in doing so urge all residents of our community to join in honoring these public servants for their efforts,” the resolution states. 

The 2013 School Board Recognition Month Resolution passed unanimously. 

*Lebanon Junction Police Chief Donnie Tinnell requested the council’s approval to replace one of the department’s six cruisers with a newer vehicle.

Tinnell said he had an opportunity to purchase a low-mileage 2011 Crown Victoria for $14,800, which he said was very reasonable. 

The chief said he wanted to purchase the cruiser to replace an early 2000s model Crown Victoria that has 140,000 miles on it. 

Though it’s not required that the council approve the police chief’s budget requests, Tinnell said he wanted everyone to be aware. 

In addition to the $25,000 in the police department’s capital outlay fund, Tinnell said his department’s payroll expenses were 7 percent under budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year. 

“Our budget’s in excellent shape,” he said. 

Councilman Steve Masden made a motion to approve the purchase of the 2011 Crown Victoria with the stipulation that the cruiser it’s replacing be put out for bid. 

The motion passed unanimously, with the exception of Sanders, who abstained. 

* Sanders expressed concerns regarding the city’s cell phone expenses. 

“It just seems awful high,” Sanders said of the city’s nearly $700 December phone bill.

Sanders said he simply wanted to make sure the city was getting the biggest bang for its buck. 

Sweat said he wasn’t sure why the bill was so high, adding that the city switched providers last year to save money. 

With that, he said City Hall would look into it. 

*The next regular meeting of the Lebanon Junction City Council will be held on Monday, Feb. 4, at City Hall on Main Street. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. The public is invited.