By Bill Robinson
MADISON COUNTY —
The Richmond City Commission heard first reading of an ordinance Tuesday that would ban occupancy of a dwelling used for making methamphetamine until it is certified as safe.
The ordinance was drafted at the request of Commissioner Laura King after Police Chief Larry Brock said he discovered that state law does not prevent immediate occupancy of a dwelling used for meth-making.
State law only requires the local health department to post a placard warning of possible meth contamination, but cities are allowed to enact more stringent regulations, said City Attorney Garrett Fowles.
If passed, the ordinance would not allow occupancy of a home, apartment or motel room where meth-making had occurred until a state-approved service had certified it as safe.
In the case of motels, apartment buildings and other multi-unit dwellings, the prohibition would apply only to an affected unit.
At the commission’s Feb. 5 work session, Brock said meth-making may not always leave toxins that make a dwelling unsafe, but no one could be sure unless tests were conducted.
Violation would be a Class A misdemeanor subject to a fine of $500 and/or up to 360 days in jail.
If the city’s codes enforcement department finds that other portions of an affected multi-unit facility share ductwork with an affected unit, occupants of the other units are to be notified. City ordinances already prohibit multi-unit dwellings from sharing ductwork, codes director Joe Lillis said Feb. 5, but it may exist in some older structures.
In other action,
• Heard first reading of an ordinance designed to prevent businesses in arrears on city taxes from re-organizing under new names to avoid payment
• Heard first reading of an ordinance that would allow Richmond Utilities to refinance $9.46 million in bonds, allowing it to save about $33,000 in annual interest
• Gave final approval to an ordinance awarding a new commercial garbage collection franchise to Advanced Disposal Service, the current franchise holder
• Awarded a contract for nearly $25,000 to Superior Demolition Inc. to take down existing structures as part of the Tipton Court Community Development project
• Re-appointed Wes Browne and Brooke Bowman to three-year terms on the city ethics board
• Appointed Wardell Johnson and Keith Joy to three-year terms on the city human rights commission. The appointments leave four vacancies on the nine-member panel.
• Accepted the resignation of Gist Heinrich from the utilities board because he has moved from Richmond.
• Approved the hiring of Ronald Brian Proffit as a desktop support technician at a wage of $19.23 an hour.
In his report, City Manager Jimmy Howard said the finance office had calculated the cost of re-instituting city employees’s annual longevity bonus this year at $110,836. The bonus was last paid in 2009.
Bill Robinson can be reached at editor@
or at 624-6690.