By Rich Wicks | Times Vedette

During the March 11 regular meeting of the Guthrie Center City Council, citizen Mitchell McNeil explained his concerns about possible violations of the city’s “junk ordinance” and other safety issues. McNeil lives on North Fourth Street.

“My main concern is all the junk that my neighbor has accumulated and not getting cleaned up… one of my main concerns is the extension cord that’s running from the house and powering one of the buildings out there, with a bungee cord through the tree, hanging it up there. That’s definitely a fire code (violation),” said McNeil.

McNeil also stated that some of the construction materials used on the buildings at the property are reused shingles and other repurposed materials.

The council reviewed photos of the property McNeil mentioned. The photos had been taken by the city’s Compliance Officer, Wes Clark. Clark said the photos confirmed the complaints made by McNeil. The council consensus was for City Clerk Kris Arrasmith to begin the process of amending the city’s building ordinance to match the fence ordinance regarding acceptable construction materials. The council also noted that cleanup of the property has visibly begun but will need to be maintained long-term. Councilor Ian Steensen reminded the rest of the council that any actions taken should also apply to other similar violators within the city.

Steve Smith spoke to the council and provided information on the 2024 Main Street Guthrie Center appeal for donations. He shared information about how 2023 donations were used, including various events, trainings, flower pots and ongoing care of historic buildings. Smith shared that this year’s Wine Walk will be May 10, and the farmers’ markets are set to begin June 1.

Smith also talked about the need to find new individuals willing to take a lead role on events such as the annual Christmas lighting at the park. He said those who have led this project for many years are ready to pass the torch, and he encourages the city to find replacements while the current project leaders are willing to share their knowledge and experience.

The council set a public hearing regarding the city’s budget and levy for April 8 at 6:30 p.m. On that evening, the public hearing will be followed by the regular council meeting, after a short recess.

The council approved the consent agenda, which included a beer/liquor permit request from the Guthrie County Arts Council.

The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 25 at 6:30 p.m.