EDMONTON — Matt South addressed the Edmonton City Council on Monday about three issues. The first one involved trash being strewn all over his neighborhood.
South told council members he contacted Mayor Howard Garrett about the issue on a Sunday.
“I have gone to Mr. (Howard) Garrett numerous times over the last few years on some issues and a majority of them have not been fixed and that's why I'm here tonight,” South said.
He continued that Garrett thanked South for making him aware of the situation.
“On Thursday morning that situation was still going on. That situation was trash all over the neighborhood,” South said. “The gentleman had decided to throw his trash out his back door. My understanding was that he had told some officials that the dogs had gotten into it. It kind of makes sense when you back up your garbage and throw it out the back door that the dogs are going to get into it.”
South continued that the garbage strewn across the neighborhood had been an ongoing issue for a couple of weeks, but the neighbor having trash in his yard had been a problem for much longer.
When South did not hear back from the mayor by Thursday, he called Councilman Ronnie Miller, who began to check into the issue.
“He made a couple of calls. With his help and Chief (Delaney) Wilson's help, the next day about midday, the occupant … was picking up his garbage,” South said.
He pointed out that there is garbage in yards along other city streets.
“Again, that Sunday I made Mr. Garrett aware of that situation; no contact, no follow-up. On Thursday, I go see Mr. Miller and we start to get something done,” South said, adding that the mayor told him on Thursday that he had not gone out to look at the trash situation in South's neighborhood.
South gave city council members photos of the trash in the neighborhood.
“That's what I'm upset about. That's the first thing that I'm upset about is there was no contact. Mr. Garrett disrespected me, my family and our neighborhood,” South said. “Mr. Miller found time to call and text me over two days. Chief Wilson, I talked to him twice that day. He came up the second time.”
South also said he was proud of his neighborhood and was tired of it looking as nice as other neighborhoods in town.
“I'm asking for help. That's why I'm here. I'm asking for help and I'm sure it has to come from this council,” he said.
Howard Dickinson, public works superintendent, asked South if the trash was in or near the street, and South responded that it was in the street.
“Our department does try to pick up garbage up and down the street. We don't get into peoples' yards. Normally, in those areas, we don't even patrol, to be honest with you, because mostly individuals that live in those areas pick up their garbage like you would expect them to,” Dickinson said. “... We hit the main drags. If we see anything in the street or near the street, my department will get it.”
Councilman Curt Estes pointed out that the city has plans to implement a code compliance policy and to establish a code enforcement board.
“I believe that code compliance that we are working on will be able to solve a lot of these problems,” Estes said.
South said he was told by the mayor that the council had scheduled a work session regarding code enforcement. The work session took place last week.
“You don't need a work session to make somebody pick up that in their yard,” South said. He again said he felt the mayor had disrespected him and his family.
This time Garrett responded by saying: “I have not disrespected you Matt South. I haven't disrespected your family. You know I haven't.”
The mayor also explained the reason why he didn't go to look at the garbage in South's neighborhood was because he had forgotten to do it.
“Do you ever forget anything?” Garrett asked.
“Even after the fact you should have said, 'Matt, I forgot,'” South said.
South also shared his feelings about speeders in his neighborhood and a bush blocking the view of oncoming traffic.
City Attorney Sharon Bowles Howard said she thought a code enforcement board would resolve a lot of issues like what South had shared with the city council.
“It will be much faster than the court system,” she said. “The court system is not a quick thing.”
After Monday night's city council meeting, Garrett said the city clerk and city attorney are working to update the city's nuisance ordinance so that it includes code compliance.
He agreed that having code compliance will help solve issues such as those that South brought before the city council, and said it will be a few months before the city will be able to have a code enforcement board in place.
The mayor also said that he did not disrespect South or his family.
In other business, the city council voted to make upgrades to the city's SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) computer software system for the water department at a cost of $3,741; agreed to declare the need for a new SCADA system for the senior center, Sumitomo and Harvey Estes Road pump station and tank and the Gaskin Road elevated tank as an emergency and purchase a new SCADA system at a cost of $74,680 from HTI Inc. of Horse Branch; approved on second reading an ordinance to correct the description of property in an annexation ordinance; agreed to purchase a new lawn mower for the city's parks and recreation department at a cost of $10,000; and agreed to have a work session with Jeremy Rogers with the Kentucky Fire Commission at 5 p.m. on Feb. 27 regarding an issue with the fire department.