Decker said it wasn't the board's goal to make money but to enforce the city's ordinances - unfortunately sometimes it's the only way to keep some from continuing to violate the law.
“The board has to look at several different methods in taking actions on properties that are in violation. Some owners will comply with our notices in a timely manner, while others refuse to co-operate or ignore the notices completely,” said Decker. “Unfortunately in the latter case we have to resort to fines and or court actions, to accomplish our ultimate goal of enforcing the city's property maintenance ordinance.
“Besides being very time consuming these fines can be substantial running into the thousand of dollars. Other actions may require foreclosing on properties and selling them through a master commissioner sale,” Decker added.
The ordinances the board enforces range from overgrown grass to run-down structures.
There have been 154 Notice of Code violations issued in 2007 to date. This compares to 84 issued in all of 2006 for an 83 percent increase.
There have been 32 citations issued in 2007 to date. This compares to 24 issued in 2006.
“We had much prefer the owners just comply with the notices without levying fines or selling property,” said Decker.
The Code Enforcement Board has been directly responsible for the elimination of nine burned-out, abandoned or dilapidated houses and structures in 2007.
The CEB currently has notices pending on three more pieces of property where homes or buildings either need to be torn down or rebuilt and brought into compliance.
The Board currently has liens filed on 21 pieces of property for noncompliance of violations.
Year to date fines and sales of property by the board have totaled $13,752 less any legal, or other expenses.
In the past five years the board has averaged bringing in about this same amount per year. These funds continue to enable the board to pay their own expenses, such as legal fees, court costs, and a small monthly stipend for the board members.
The board continues to look for beautification and other worthwhile projects to enhance the appearance of the city and benefit the citizens of Russellville.
The board currently has $10,000 pledged to the city parks department for a bridge to help complete their trail project.
Past projects by the board have included banners for the downtown area, spinner bikes for the Carpenter Center, and dumpsters for city residents to use for clean-up.