Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa

Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

September 14, 2017 Wellman begins cleaning up properties
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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On Sept. 6 and 7, the city of Wellman went through with the abatement process for a pair of properties in the culmination of the first stage of the city’s push to clean up properties around town.

Four final warnings had been sent out to certain properties, giving a deadline of Sept. 5 to get the properties up to code. Two of the four properties successfully cleaned up their properties; something City Administrator Kelly Litwiller took some time to acknowledge.

“I actually called them and left messages for both of them thanking them for doing what they were asked to do,” she said.

Two of the four properties, while the property owners had started to make some headway, did end up needing to be cleaned up.

Within the next six months, those four properties can be abated without notice if the properties do not stay up to code because of the previous notifications. Getting people to keep their properties up to code after the initial process is one of the biggest problems.

“The hard part is that a lot of these (property owners)... they may take care of it for a while, but then it ends up back on the list the next year because they don’t keep up on it. It’s just an endless circle,” Litwiller said.

The cost of the abatement will be billed to the homeowners and if they don’t pay, the costs will be assessed to the property to the county. Litwiller said the city doesn’t want to do this, but at a certain point steps need to be taken.

“The last thing the city wants to do is put a burden on someone,” she said.

“We’re not doing it out of spite …(We) would rather work with them to get it done and we’ve given them plenty of notice to do that. If you can’t do anything in that time, we have to do something.”

The process was the culmination of a roughly four-month process. Back in May, the city divvied up the town by section to document potential nuisance issues. When the issues were documented, properties had a door hangar left on, which included information of the citywide cleanup day May 12 and 13.

After that, the city sent out a letter to about 40 properties in June informing them that they were not up to code and in violation of the nuisance policy. Litwiller said some did clean up, but many others did not.

Litwiller said the city would continue to select a couple of the properties in violation to go after at a time, admitting they can’t clean it all up simultaneously. Two more final warnings were mailed out September 8, giving property owners until October 1 to clean up their properties.

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