The Hindsville City Council Monday decided to draft an ordinance to deal with unsightly dwellings in the town. An ordinance will need three readings and be published in the newspaper before it can be put into effect.
Two residences – one east of the post office and the other north of A.T. Smith’s Mercantile on Main Street – are the primary focus of the council’s attention.
Mayor Stephanie Casey said comments about the two dwellings – including one that is a camper shell – have come from a variety of people.
“I’ve been approached by citizens and business owners, residents and even visitors, about the property east of the post office and the property also north of A.T.’s store,” she told the council.
Hindsville does not have an ordinance currently to deal with trash, littering or other issues. Casey was told that Madison County can not deal with those at the dwellings because they are within the town limits of Hindsville.
JoAnna Kilpatrick, who bought the Hindsville Cafe this past July, addressed the council Monday. The residence east of the post office is about 100 yards from her eatery. About 75 percent of her business comes from Benton and Washington counties.
“They have to drive by those places and it gives them the wrong idea of Hindsville,” she said. “Really they’re [two residences] an eyesore and I think they’re a hazard to not only my business, but other people in the community.”
Kilpatrick said, “The trash blows away into my parking lot ... the smell in my patio is very, very bad and I’m guessing that’s from raw sewage, maybe.”
A fire about a week ago was abut 100 yards from the cafe.
“Many times I have seen the man that lives there walk up and down the street shirtless while I have customers,” she said. “He goes around my porch and A.T.’s porch scrounging for cigarette butts ... and it is very embarrassing.”
Kilpatrick said that since this past spring, she has counted 17 dogs that live at or near the residence near the post office.
Casey said she spoke Monday to Mike Harp with the Boston Mountain Solid Waste District. Harp said he spoke to the residents of the two properties on July 9, and planned to do so again this week.
“He’s going to be our first line of defense,” Casey said.
The mayor also spoke with Huntsville and Madison County officials about how to deal with the situation.
“The county can’t do anything about it because it’s a city matter. It’s within the city limits,” Casey said.
Treasurer Whitney Wilson gave council members a copy of Huntsville’s ordinance that deals with trash, littering and other issues.
Casey said the Hindsville council will need to approve a similar ordinance, then perhaps look to hire a temporary code enforcement officer as needed.
The occupant east of the post office apparently lives on land owned by his mother, while the occupant of the dwelling north of Smith’s store lives on an empty lot next to his house which was repossessed. The occupant took out belongings from the house which was repossessed and put the belongings in the empty lot where he now lives.
The Hindsville ordinance could be read for the first time on Monday, Dec. 9, when the council meets to consider the 2020 budget.
Councilors saw the proposed 2020 budget for the first time Monday. The general fund budget includes $6,442.40 in estimated revenues and $2,855 in appropriations.
The street fund has estimated revenues of $4,366.33 for next year, with $3,150 in appropriations.
In other business Monday, Casey said she would reapply for a grant with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s Division of Rural Services. Hindsville was turned down for the grant in 2019, which sought funds to build a walking trail at the Georgia Mae Smith Memorial Park.