Monroe residents protest empty neighborhood residence

Authored by Jim Langham on Aug 8, 2014

Several residents attended the August Monroe Town Council meeting to protest an empty house located at 133 West Jackson Street. Residents of the house moved out but left trash scattered around the house and the yard unattended.
In addition, several windows in the house are broken. Residents reported seeing several animals leaving and entering the house. Recently, those who had lived there returned briefly and put “no trespassing” signs in several of the home’s windows.
“There is this big huge, horrible eye sore next to my property,” commented Julie Bahrke. “I feel that it devalues our property and not only ours but the property of the whole town.
“People say to me often, ‘oh, you live right next to that ugly house,’” said Bahrke. “There are two homes south of us. I can’t see one of them because of that eye-sore.”
Some of those present said that a few days after they family moved out, a pick-up truck full of trash backed to the house and emptied trash into the basement.
Monroe Council attorney Jeremy Brown said that the owners are registered as James and Peggy Huntley.
“Have Dio (Hernandez, town marshal) inspect the house and take photographs,” said Brown. “He can give them to me and we can file a law suit.”
Besides Bahrke, other residents present included Rex and Marcia Funk and Amanda Connely.
Council member Debbie Giesler said there are other residents that have been requested, by letter, to clean their properties, but haven’t done so.
“We need to make people understand that we are not going to put up with this anymore,” said Giesler. “We have complaints about these places all of the time. We need to let them know that we are not going to put up with this. There is a fine for this.”
In a related matter, Monroe Council President Al Lehman appealed for town officials to also crack down on “dragsters” and those constantly violating speed limits.
“They are jeopardizing homes and properties, not to mention human life,” said Lehman. “I’m asking for full prosecution for them. Jail time might be involved. If we don’t crack down on this, there is going to be a serious accident or one of those cars might end up in somebody’s bedroom.”
Lehman advised that there will be an initial hearing for the 2015 budget on August 21. Final approval will take place on Oct.2. The president said that some information needed in order to form the budget has just arrived in the last day.
“The amounts we use to set the budget comes from revising some line items according to 2014 costs or what we project it will cost in 2015,” said Lehman. “Some things already cost that this year. We know what health insurance premiums cost because they went into effect on July 1.”
Lehman is referring to the total cost of health insurance, $10,000, established for city employees Marty and Justin Shaffer.

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