A resident asking for a waiver of demolition costs on property owned by his father challenged the legality of the city’s emergency nuisance abatement procedures during Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting of the Mobile City Council.
John Randolph told councilors his father, who owns the property at 420 Bay Bridge Road, is ill and would not be able to pay the $2,649 fee associated with the city-approved demolition of a structure on the site.
Councilman Levon Manzie told Randolph he wasn’t sure the council could grant a waiver on the fee. He added that the fee would come in the form of a lien and suggested Randolph work with the city to amortize payments.
“The council doesn’t regularly give a waiver,” Manzie said.
During a public hearing on the issue, Randolph questioned the legality of such demolitions.
“I’d caution the council to pay more attention to emergency demolition orders,” Randolph said.
In response, Manzie said owners could avoid problems by maintaining or demolishing property themselves.
“One way to eliminate the process is to make sure properties don’t get to that standard,” Manzie said.
A total of 45 properties have been abated by the city since Mayor Sandy Stimpson installed a task force to identify nuisances, according to information provided by the city.
Of those, 26 have been demolished, with the city demolishing 22 and owners demolishing four. Of the remaining 19 properties, 16 have been secured or repaired by the property owners and three are being addressed through different avenues.
Program manager contract
The council held over for one week two resolutions that would enter the city into a three-year contract agreement with Hawksley Consulting Inc. for up to $600,000 per year for three years.
Hawksley would act as the city’s program manager for the $63 million in infrastructure improvements planned over the next three years, Stimpson said at the meeting.
The resolution sponsored by Councilman Joel Daves and Stimpson would allow Hawksley to help the city during the initial stages of contracting with other firms for the work, Executive Director of Planning and Development Dianne Irby said.
Manzie asked Irby if the firm would be able to work with the city on giving work to contractors that hire a diverse workforce.
Irby said Hawksley will be very good at helping the city break up bids into smaller packages to give work to smaller, more diverse contractors.
Irby said the contract is for up to $600,000 per year, but money not spent in one year can roll over to the next.
The council also held over for one week a resolution to appropriate $215,586 for renovations to the third floor of a city-owned building at 200 Government St. that will become the office of the Bloomberg Innovation team.
Executive Director Joan Dunlap said the money would be used on half of the third floor and used by the six-member innovation team tasked with taking on blight. The other half of the third floor of the building is used as a 311 call center.
Dunlap said all but one of the team members has been hired. Manzie asked for information on those five employees.
Paris Air Show
At the meeting, Stimpson gave a glowing report on the success of Mobile’s team at the Paris Air Show last week. In addition to finalizing a deal with Hutchinson Aerospace and Industry to introduce at least 100 jobs to the area, Stimpson said MAAS would also bring a paint shop and 80 jobs to Brookley Aeroplex.
Messier-Bugatti-Dowty, an aircraft landing gear manufacturer, also announced last week it is coming to Mobile.
Stimpson said there would be more announcements this week.
“We had an outstanding air show,” Stimpson said. “We see these companies making the decision to come here … and they will grow with Airbus.”
In addition to George Talbot, Stimpson’s spokesman, the mayor was also joined on the trip by Councilman C.J. Small, whose district encompasses the Brookley Aeroplex, and Council Vice President Fred Richardson.
Small also touted the trip for the success in bringing in the three new Airbus suppliers. He also said the city needs to continue to work to attract more.
“We must stay on top of our game and at the table,” he said. “If we don’t, we’ll see tax dollars leave Mobile.”
In other business
The council approved the rezoning of property at 600 Fisher St. from light industry to heavy industry to allow for a scrap-metal recycling facility. Following a public hearing in which no one spoke in favor or against it, Daves called for an amendment to the proposal to require the applicant, Lawler and Company, to put up an eight-foot privacy fence where the property abuts residential zoning.
The council approved moving $9,500 from an unused capital fund to another to allow for traffic improvements in the Church Street East neighborhood.
The council also approved a $24,800 contract with Gulf Services for asbestos abatement and debris removal at City Hall North building at 350 St. Joseph St. Stimpson told councilors the administration would like to have the work done in order to try to sell it. In 2011, the former hotel was listed as a brownfield site by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.