Town of Glen St. Mary 

Florida's Outstanding Rural Community of the Year-2004

March 19, 2019 - Workshop

The Town of Glen St. Mary held a workshop on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at 6:00 P.M. at the Town Hall with Council Member Davis, Councilman Foster, Council Member Hodges, and Councilman Rhynehardt present. Mayor Juanice Padgett presided over the meeting.

 

Note: These meeting minutes are a summarized version of the actual discussions at the meeting. These are not verbatim transcripts. For a complete audio recording of the discussion please contact Donna Loadholtz at glenstmary3777@gmail.com.

 

The purpose of the workshop was to discuss Code Enforcement within the Town.

 

Mayor Padgett handed out Florida Statutes that deal with Code Enforcement regulations. She told Council the code enforcement officer sends two letters to the violator before it is sent to the code board. Councilman Rhynehardt asked about a fifteen-day time period. Mayor Padgett replied that it is up to us. The county sends a thirty-day notice before sending cases to the code enforcement committee. We send a courtesy notice and then an official letter if not cleaned up. Mr. Larry Payne asked about the procedures. Mayor Padgett explained that the code enforcement officer rides and sees the violations or residents call in and make a complaint. The code enforcement officer sends a certified letter and allows thirty days before the code enforcement board is notified. Mr. Payne questioned the anonymous portion of notifying the Town of a violation. He stated if you call the ethics board in Tallahassee, they won’t entertain any information from an “anonymous” person.

 

Mayor Padgett quickly briefed the Town’s Attorney of the discussions prior to his arrival before continuing. Councilman Rhynehardt stated he had spoken with the City of Macclenny and they do a fifteen/fifteen day before sending to the code enforcement board. The Town would need to start with getting a code enforcement person. Councilman Foster said that page 5, number 4 lists it out. Mayor Padgett stated we have sent out simple courtesy letters and they are usually cleaned up quickly. She asked what Council wants. Councilman Rhynehardt felt the officer could make contact with the person telling them what the problem is. Mayor Padgett replied that sometimes you can’t get in touch with them. The first contact could be in person or letter. Councilman Foster asked if you go and send a certified letter, shouldn’t the property owner be responsible for the expenses. The magistrate charges $150 per hour with a minimum of two hours. The cost of the enforcement should be an incentive to clean up. Attorney Bense believes the Town could charge for his time as well. The question was presented about the formal letter. What would happen if the property was not cleaned up in the given amount of time. Councilman Rhynehardt and Foster suggested giving fifteen days for a courtesy letter before giving a certified letter and then sending it to the magistrate. Councilman Foster stated a $25 fee would be cheap if they fix the violation or send it on to the magistrate. Councilman Hodges suggested to present a courtesy letter. The property owner may know they have a problem. Mayor Padgett stated everyone is aware of one property on Highway 90 that both Donna and Matt have done paperwork on, but the County has since dissolved its code enforcement board. She asked Attorney Bense if we can send files without resending letters to the property owners. Attorney Bense replied that if it was done a while back, he suggested resending the notice. Matt has sent notification recently so Attorney Bense said to go ahead and send it on. Mayor Padgett said that some clean up and then go right back to a mess a few months later. Attorney Bense suggested re-noticing them at that point.

 

Councilman Rhynehardt asked about cleaning properties if they are not cleaned up. Trash is a nuisance issue. Questions were raised about items being stored outside the home. Council Member Hodges asked if it is noticed as “cleaned up at your expense” does that cover the Town. Attorney Bense suggested a formal date to be noticed stating the Town “will remove all”. Mr. Payne mentioned a property on Clinton Avenue where you can’t see the front door for all the stuff or “personal property”. Attorney Bense stated if rodents are spreading to other properties, this could be and issue for code enforcement. Councilman Foster stated Statute 162.09 talks about setting maximum fines and repeat violators can be fined a higher amount. Mayor Padgett asked at what point can a property be condemned. Attorney Bense advised to leave that to the County, but it is governed by the Statutes. Mayor Padgett told Council about a recent event involving a property on Highway 90 that has been an issue for several years. Maintenance notified that several boxes had been delivered in recent weeks but have not been removed from under the carport. We called for a wellness check and the Sheriff’s Office came and made contact with her. Attorney Bense stated if you are doing a wellness check, that could be the basis of checking the house. The Town could possibly go to the Fire Marshall. DCF has been notified in the past. Attorney Bense said if children were involved, DCF would be the most resourceful way to go.

 

Mayor Padgett then told Council the Town needs to hire a code enforcement officer and asked what kind of person they want. Council threw around ideas of getting someone who is retired or an off-duty police officer and what they would need to wear. Mayor Padgett stated the key is consistency. The person needs to be able to access our computers to send letters out. Councilman Foster asked why we don’t use the same person the County uses. Mayor Padgett responded that Melissa Richardson does the complaints for the county, but she also does several other things there. Mr. Payne stated the Town needs someone with empathy for people and can speak to people. Councilman Foster suggested considering a home inspector. A few names were mentioned that have done inspections. Attorney Bense suggested having construction in their background. Mayor Padgett told Council we will type this up and have another workshop. Council Member Hodges asked what we pay Mr. Bennett. Mayor Pagett stated he is to be paid $20 per hour. Council Member Hodges said that the person needs to be careful in how to approach people. Councilman Foster added they would need to be nice, but firm and believes they will get a different attitude when they see fines being charged. Councilman asked if we are going to go by the statutes. Mayor Padgett responded that the Land Development Regulations include all of that. The Town needs to determine what is considered “unsafe”. Councilman Rhynehardt raised the question of what is considered an abandoned vehicle. Mr. Payne stated rather than look at the Land Development Codes, the Town needs to move on what to do. He told Council to look at the bigger picture. What percentage of homes are violating the codes? When you walk up to the home and point out the problems to them, they are most likely going to give you some sob story or lie. Councilman Foster used the mobile home park as an example where mobile home owners are required to purchase a tag annually like vehicles. Slum lords don’t care as long s they are getting their money. The question was raised if the Town would be better to be the one to collect for the stickers rather than the County. Attorney Bense stated if the landlord was causing the home to be uninhabitable, then the tenant doesn’t have to pay rent. The landlord should be noticed referencing the dilapidated structure.

 

Mayor Padgett closed the workshop at 6:55 P.M.
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