Ingalls waives almost $80K in fines

INGALLS — Ingalls waived thousands of dollars in fines for a local resident, picked members for a newly created redevelopment commission and approved funds for fire department expenditures during a recent council session.

John Estes of Ingalls returned to address the council at its request after it gave Estes time to clean up his property at 201 W. Broadway St., or face fines of almost $80,000.

Estes told town officials he has made progress cleaning up his property, and Tim Millikan, town manager, agreed. Millikan said Estes has been cleaning up the area, but there were still a few things that needed to be done.

After years of town notices, fines up to $200 per day for each day the property was not cleaned up totaled $79,225.

“He had multiple violations,” Millikan said.

The town has a range of fines, and when people don’t respond, it sets the fines at the highest amount, town leaders said.

Estes came to the council last month and said he didn’t have the money to have trash removed and asked for more time to clean up old car parts, among other garbage.

The council agreed to work with him and said its aim was not to make money off of residents. However, it did want to see a good faith effort to clean up the area.

“He’s doing the job, but it took the fines to get his attention,” Millikan said. “The ultimate goal is to get it cleaned up.”

Now that it appears the situation is headed in the right direction, Chris Bradshaw, council vice president, made a motion to waive the $79,000 in fines and charge Estes $225 in fines, and the rest of the council agreed.

Estes has until Thursday, Feb. 22, to finish cleaning up the property or face more fines and further action by the town.

The town is stepping up its efforts to clean up dilapidated properties in the area and agreed to start enforcing ordinances, Millikan said.

In fire department business, Fire Chief Brian Cushman reported batteries on the department’s ladder truck must be replaced at a cost of $433; other department requests included the purchase of a new desk for the fire station office at a cost of $410 and the evaluation of the generator on the department’s pump truck at a cost of $100.

The council approved the the requests.

Cushman also informed the council Jeremy Boat, assistant fire chief, is recovering from injuries he received in an off-duty car accident. It was estimated it will take up to six months for his recovery.

The council and Cushman also discussed the shortage of money in the ambulance fund and asked Clerk-Treasurer Kip Golden to bring documentation of disbursements for 2017 to the next town council meeting so they can look more closely into expenses.

In other town business, council president Tim Green appointed himself, Bradshaw and their fellow councilman Justin Gardner to the newly created redevelopment commission. Bradshaw made a motion to also appoint councilwomen Teresa Egerton and Georgia Parker to the commission.

The commission was created to determine how the town can best use funds from a new tax increment financing (TIF) district.

A TIF district takes property taxes from new developments in a defined geographic area and uses the money to improve infrastructure in that area.

Goals include attracting business investment and creating jobs.

TIF revenue can be used to fund projects — such as sidewalks, storm sewer improvements or bike lanes — to make the town more attractive and increase property values.

The newly formed redevelopment commission’s first meeting was set for Tuesday, Feb. 6.

A school board member from the South Madison Community School Corp. also is expected to be part of the group.

Author photo
Kristy Deer is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3262 or kdeer@greenfieldreporter.com.