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Sticker shock is the cost of inaction

Sticker shock is the cost of inaction

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House numbers

During the last Denison City Council meeting, Councilman Corey Curnyn seemed surprised that the city’s code enforcement officer is allowed to put house numbers on residences where the residents have not complied with a notice to do so. He was concerned about damage that could be done to the siding.

The city code does, indeed, allow the code enforcement officer to put numbers on a house, but Curnyn’s concern subsided when he learned that the house numbers are stick-ons, not the kind that would require putting holes in siding.

Although the stick-ons won’t harm a building, the real sticker shock is the cost of ignoring a notice to put numbers on your house.

The city will charge the same as it does for removing snow from a sidewalk when a resident doesn’t do it in a timely manner or when they allow the grass in their yard to grow taller than six inches and ignore a notice.

That fee is $225. It’s based on an administrative fee of $50, an equipment fee of $100 and a labor fee of $75 per hour, with a 1-hour minimum.

The cost of putting your own house numbers up? Under $5 for the most basic kind, even for a four-digit street address. That’s a difference of $220 compared to ignoring the city’s notice.

Denison Code Enforcement Officer Colby Ellis reported at the last council meeting that he should have the entire city canvassed for house numbers by the end of the month. He started on the outskirts of the community at 26th and 27th streets, worked his way in to Fort Purdy, City View, Lori Lane and 12th Avenue South and then started on the center of town.

Ellis was at the council meeting to give a quarterly report, something that Mayor Pam Soseman asked him to start doing.

It was also decided that he should be present at hearings for requests by residents for a waiver or a reduction of fees related to code enforcement violations.

This came up in regard to a resident who asked the fee for having a couch removed from outside her residence be waived or reduced. The council members were told that the resident does not understand English, had been off work and was trying to help pay for her father’s funeral. The council reduced the $230 the resident had been charged down to $100.

Ellis said he wished he had been present after listening to the recording of the October 20 meeting when the fee was reduced. He said he had talked to a woman at the house who was a year older that he is, told her about the couch, pointed at the couch and asked it to be removed. He said the woman responded they could do that.

Curnyn responded if he had known Ellis had spoken with someone at the residence, the lowering of the fees would have been a different story.

The council also recommended some other minor adjustments in the operation of the code enforcement office. They suggested that Ellis work some hours after 4:30 on some days, or on the weekends, to be able to catch those people who work until 5 p.m. or later.

Soseman added that this could happen especially in spring and summer, the busier times of the year for code enforcement.

A second suggestion was to have notices and letters printed in English and Spanish.

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