Property maintenance big issue for some residents

The Board of Commissioners met June 14 to discuss proposed amendments to the town’s code of ordinances regarding housing and property maintenance and the nuisance abatement code.  The amendments set a timeline of action.  The amendment reads “Order by the Governing Body after failure to repair, remove, vacate, or close after one year.”  Property owners have one year to handle issues, and “after the expiration of such one-year period, the Board of Commissioners may enact an ordinance and serve such ordinance on the owner, setting forth” property repair or demolition within 90 days.

Residents spoke during the public comments section of the meeting on this topic and situations that affect their neighborhoods.  Henry Hartz lives in Farmwood where a house was damaged by a fire two and half years ago but remains untouched.

“We just don’t see anything changing.  We think it’s a health hazard, and personally I would like to see a tax reduction as a result of the impact on my property…I would like to encourage your board to do what they can to get this thing taken care of,” said Hartz.

Pat Heffernan is also a neighbor affected by the burnt house in Farmwood.

“This gentleman is jobbing the system and is very good at it…I would say that it’s not fair to the tax payers, it’s not fair to the neighbors, and it’s simply not right that we should be looking at this type of a situation for the amount of time that we’re looking at it, and then to hear legislation that says technically it could be another 15 months.  Now, I don’t know who has the linchpin, but there is one and it needs to be pulled.  I hope the board will find it for us and get this taken care of,” said Heffernan.

Town Manager Brian Welch clarified that if the town needs to demolish a residence, a lien will be put on the owner’s property.

“The town has done everything we can do within the confines of the law,” said Mayor Ted Biggers.  “We will do everything we can as fast as we can within the constraints of the law.  We will continue to push this issue.”

In other matters

  • The board accepted the treasurer’s report and the tax collector’s report.
  • They approved the budget amendments and accepted the budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013.
  • The town will enter in an inter-local agreement with surrounding fire departments.
  • The petition filed by Sullivan, Byrd & Roupas to construct an office building at 6332 Matthews-Mint Hill Road was approved.
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Former Mint Hill Volunteer Fire Dept. Chief under investigation

By Amanda Waters
amandawaters@minthilltimes.com

The Town of Mint Hill received a federal subpoena May 24 and is cooperating with federal agencies in an investigation of recently resigned Fire Operations Director, Jeremy Russell.  “We are absolutely not under investigation as a town,” said Town Manager Brian Welch.  “The town is actively cooperating with them in their review.”
The Board of Commissioners passed a resolution May 24 authorizing the town staff, town attorney and members of the board “to meet with investigating agents and attorneys for the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the United States Attorneys Office.” According to the resolution they could inform investigating agents and attorneys of  “(1) the suspension, disciplinary action and later resignation of Mint Hill Fire Operations Director Jeremy Russell, (2) the reasons for and circumstances surrounding such personnel action and events, (3) the Town’s findings regarding Mr. Russell’s activities engaged in during his prior employment with the Town and as a volunteer with the Mint Hill Volunteer Fire Department, and (4) any additional information requested by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and/or the United States Attorneys Office in connection with their investigation of Mr. Russell and/or any related individuals and entities.”
Russell was hired as a paramedic June 13, 1994.  The town promoted him to Fire/EMS Operations Director April 1998.  He received a disciplinary suspension April 13, 2012, and resigned the same day. The Board of Commissioners held several closed sessions last month regarding an unspecified personnel matter.
The board passed a resolution April 12 “to inform the Mint Hill Volunteer Fire Department Board Chair and other members of the Board of Directors of the suspension and other disciplinary action involving Mint Hill Fire Chief Jeremy Russell and the reasons for such personnel action.”
The board also passed a resolution May 2 to make the MHVFD Board of Directors and counsel for the MHVFD aware of “the Town’s findings regarding Mr. Russell’s activities engaged in during his prior employment with the Town and as a volunteer with the Mint Hill Volunteer Fire Department.”
The FBI declined comment on its involvement with the investigation of Russell.
When asked what Russell is being investigated for, Welch said he was unable to comment and directed questions to the U.S. Attorneys Office, which also declined to comment.
Chairman of the MHVFD Board of Directors, Jerry Mullis, said “Our mission here at the Mint Hill Volunteer Fire Department is to be responsive to the investigation, assist in any way we can, and go on in our mission of providing fire protection and emergency medical and transport to the people in our fire district.”
The fire department held a board meeting June 4, ending with a two-hour closed session where they discussed personnel and insurance matters and the investigation.
The fire department has experienced several personnel changes since Russell resigned.  John Phillips is the new fire chief, Tommy Moore is the assistant chief in charge of fire operations, David Leath is the assistant chief in charge of EMS operations, and the chief introduced three newly-hired firemen at last night’s meeting.  There were changes in the board, too, as Henry Allison stepped down as the vice chair and member of the board.

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Library plan presented to Mint Hill Board

Carol Hull presented the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library Citizens Committee report to the Board of Commissioners last Thursday.  She is a member of the committee, a team of citizens with professional experience in real estate, process improvements, information technology, and Mecklenburg County government.
The goal of this committee was “to review the functions and utilization of the main library, consider the feasibility of consolidating, downsizing, or relocating the functions of the main library” to another site.  The committee met monthly from November 2011 to February 2012 to investigate library functions and ways to save money. Continue reading

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Mint Hill Planning Board meets

The Planning Board met Monday at the Town Hall to approve the minutes of the March 22 meeting and to discuss and recommend the rezoning request filed by Sullivan, Burd and Roupas, LLC.  The dentists are asking to construct a new building at 6332 Matthews-Mint Hill Road.
The first approval made by the Planning Board was to allow the front of the building to be on a private street.  The Monday meeting focused on sidewalks.
The site plan meets code requirements, but the town has asked Sullivan, Burd and Roupas to be flexible, shifting the sidewalk.  There was discussion on whether the sidewalk should be five or eight feet, but it was determined that five feet is adequate.
The closeness of the building to the road and to Queens Grant Charter School will add to the vision the town has for the downtown area.
The board carried the motion to send a favorable recommendation to the Board of Commissioners to work with the applicant.

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Primary results

Over two million voters turned out for North Carolina’s primary last week, 178,533 of which were in Mecklenburg County.  Mint Hill residents had the opportunity to vote for the Democratic or Republican presidential and gubernatorial candidates, commissioners for District six, the North Carolina State Senator for District 41, and the North Carolina constitutional marriage amendment.
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney won their parties’ nominations.  Romney received 65 percent, Ron Paul had 11 percent, and Santorum had 10.
Walter Dalton and Pat McCrory won their parties’ nominations for governor, with 45 percent and 83 percent, respectively.
Republican Bill James won against Ed Driggs for District 6 County Commissioner candidate. Continue reading

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Unofficial Mecklenburg County election results

For a complete list of results click here.

PRESIDENTIAL (DEM) Barack Obama

NC GOVERNOR (DEM): Walter H. Dalton

PRESIDENTIAL (REP) Mitt Romney

US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DISTRICT 8 (REP): Richard Hudson

NC GOVERNOR (REP): Pat McCrory

BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS DISTRICT 6 (REP) Bill James

NC STATE SENATE DISTRICT 41 (REP) Jeff Tarte

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT: Against (Statewide the Amendment was FOR)

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