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Hawkins City Council

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Candy throwing ban upheld; House ruled "public nuisance"
By JOHN SPARKS

 Meeting in regular session, Monday, September 17, the Hawkins City Council faced pressure to repeal a controversial ordinance passed last year that bans the throwing of candy from parade float entries and received an update on a home deemed as dangerous by John Jones, city fire marshal and code enforcement officer.

Several citizens appeared before the council seeking a change or repeal of the ordinance that bans candy throwing from parade floats. A petition with a reported 169 signatures was presented calling for a reversal of the ordinance which was enacted shortly before last year's Oil Festival parade.

Mayor Bradley and the council members said that a new or amended ordinance could not be approved at this meeting since no new ordinance has been drafted for consideration. Also, the general tenor of the discussion suggested that the majority of councilmen are concerned about safety issues and liability. Each had observed children dashing out into the streets to retrieve candy at previous Oil Festival parades.

After discussion, a motion was made to continue to observe and enforce the current ordinance. That vote was 5-1 with Tom Parker voting against.

Councilmen told those attending the meeting that the ordinance bans the throwing of the candy, but not the handing out of candy by people walking along beside a float down the parade route. Several entries in last year's parade took advantage of this method of distribution.

Council members heard an update of the situation with a house at 183 Blackburn Street from John Jones, fire marshal and code enforcement officer for the city. Jones reported the house was a dangerous structure with rotted floors. Trash and bugs litter the entire house Jones said. Apparently the owner of the house has moved away, but two young men continue to live there. Jones issued a notice on July 22. Nothing was done as of July 27 so Jones issued a dangerous building notice. The two young men appeared in court, saying they could not remedy the situation nor could they find another place to live. A fine of up to $2,000 per day for continued habitation could be levied. An eviction notice has been issued. Jones said he was meeting later this month with the city's attorney to seek a remedy.

The council discussed a request to make the pavilion available to promoters of a benefit for Jason Rushing, a local resident suffering from non-Hopkins Lymphoma. The promoter of the proposed event, Shane Ellison, was not at the meeting to discuss details, but representatives of the Hawkins Chamber of Commerce said their understanding of the plans call for an attendance of as many as 800 people for an event that would feature bands and other such entertainment. In addition, planners apparently talked of plans to sell or serve beer. Council members said the pavilion and the adjacent park could not accommodate that many people, and, of course, no alcoholic beverages are allowed in the park. The council would entertain other requests from the promoter, but suggested there are no public or private facilities in Hawkins large enough to hold an event of the magnitude described.

Council approved the Hawkins Community Development Commission budget for '07-‘08. That budget calls for revenue of approximately 72,400 with proposed expenditures of approximately $60,000 a set aside of $12,000 for the possible acquisition of land for an industrial park. Among the expenditures are four quarterly payments of $4,147 on a note for construction of the pavilion and improvements to the adjacent city park.

Council approved of tentative plans to upgrade a water line serving homes and a church on Yates Street from FM-14 to the city limits. Bids will be sought to replace a 2-inch service line with a 6-inch line. Estimated cost is $8,000-to-$10,000.

Council also voted to pay for repairs to a tractor used for mowing at the Hawkins Youth Sports Park. The tractor will continue to be used by HYSA volunteers to groom the soccer fields and the baseball fields. The city is investigating if the tractor can be sold to HYSA. City maintenance workers will mow the perimeter of the park. Council discussed the need for a small, secure utility building to house the tractor and other equipment at the park, but no action was taken.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Hawkins City Council is scheduled for Monday, October 15 at 6 p.m. A special meeting of the council can be called with 72 hours public notice.

Last Updated on Friday, 24 April 2009 14:27  

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