City putting ‘feet to the fire’ for Mill ‘clean up’

During the Clinton City Council meeting last Monday, the Council unanimously passed four motions to move forward with the cleanup of the Magnet Mills property. The Council held a special-called executive session during the council meeting to discuss the matter in depth with its attorney.

It took city officials about 45 minutes to discuss the issue in executive session. City officials did not disclose the details of what they discussed with their lawyer, but they did pass four motions during the council meeting following the executive session relating to the Magnet Mills site based on what the attorney recommended.

The motions Council voted for included continuing the slum ordinance, proceeding with a judicial foreclosure on a $94,000 city court lien, proceeding with a $16,000 tax lien by adding the Magnet Mills site to a delinquent tax sale when the property becomes delinquent, and adopting a redevelopment plan.

In regards to the slum ordinance continuation, enforcement of the ordinance relates to Building A and the water tower on site.

The slum ordinance involves the city getting a judicial order to have the property cleaned up and cleared of all and any debris.

In this situation, the court would give the property owner a deadline for getting the site cleaned up and if the property owner ignores the cleanup deadline, then city officials would be allowed to hire their own cleaning crews to have the work done.

The prior slum ordinance the city enforced resulted in certain expenses being expended by the city to bring the property into compliance.

Next, Council passed a second motion to move forward with a foreclosure on a $94,000 city court lien, and a third to add the Magnet Mills property — should it becomes delinquent — to the delinquent tax sale. This tax lien amounts to $16,000, officials said.

A fourth motion was made to explore a redevelopment plan for the related Magnet Mills property.

According to the city attorney, the redevelopment plan would give the owner the option to redevelop the site; however, if the owner does not opt to redevelop, it would give city council the option to put a bid out to other developers.

“I want to be clear that if there are any issues with the property, if they are in violation of any ordinance, we need to be citing them,” stated City Councilman Jim McBride. “We can’t get them [the property owners] into city court unless we have citations.”

Councilman Zach Farrar echoed McBride’s assertion that City Council needs to keep enforcing city ordinances.

Said Farrar, “I’m happy we’re sending them [the owners] letters, but I think the time for letters has come to pass and it is my opinion we need to be enforcing the ordinances with a certain zeal. I also want to see the ordinances enforced. This property owner has been given years of deference and good will on our part and yet has shown the inability to bring that property into compliance.”

In addition to being an eyesore, Magnet Mills “is a piece of property that has held this city hostage,” he added.

Since July of this year, city officials have sent notices to the property owners in the mail, requesting they clean up the property and get it into compliance, but no action has been taken to date.

A total of three letters of notice have been sent to the property owner- — the last one sent on Sept. 28, said Clinton City Manager Roger Houck.

“We’re going to continue to hold their feet to the fire and get it back to code. We’re doing everything possible to try and make that happen,” stated Clinton City Mayor Scott Burton, after all four motions were passed.