MONTICELLO — The city will be asking for requests for proposals on two abandoned houses it is taking possession of this month.
White County turned over the houses at 316 Cleveland St. and 221 Dewey St. to Monticello after no one bought them at tax sales.
Monticello is now waiting on the deeds.
The city wants developers to restore or rebuild the houses, and city officials are willing to sell the properties low in exchange for someone getting them back on the tax rolls.
The city will also put a timeline on the repairs so the properties don’t sit untouched by the people or firms that buy them.
“We want to be able to negotiate with them,” Mayor Ken Houston said.
When a person or company submits a proposal for either property, city officials can decide whether the project is reasonable and on the timeline to get it fixed, as well as the cost the city will sell it for.
Councilman Ralph Widmer (R, Ward 4) said plans should also fit the neighborhood in which the house will be located.
Councilman Phil Vogel (R, at-large) said he didn’t want restrictions to be too strict.
Once they’re habitable, those who’ve fixed the houses could sell or rent them, he said.
The city council itself won’t be involved in the transfer of the properties.
Loy said property sales are the domain of the Board of Works, but it could also be done by the Monticello Redevelopment Commission.
The Redevelopment Commission would have more flexibility, he said.
Also at the meeting, Houston informed the council about the cost of portable speed bumps in response to a citizen complaint at the June 3 meeting.
“They’re quite more expensive than you’d think,” he said.
The ones he looked at ran from $100 per piece of the bump to more than $500 per piece.
They also need to be anchored into the ground with spikes, and the company recommends having warning signs for the speed bumps.
James DeGard told the council and mayor on June 3 that speeders on Bluewater Drive from St. Mary’s Avenue to Bluewater Beach Park increase over the summer and on weekends as people rush to get their boats in the water after work.
There are no sidewalks but there are lots of children in the area, he said then.
Widmer was concerned Monday that “if we put them in one neighborhood, are all neighborhoods going to want them?”
Fire Chief Galen Logan also said that the bumps could interfere with emergency vehicles.
Councilman Doug Pepple said Bluewater has the problem of a large number of people at the park and no sidewalks, making it different from other places.
The mayor will look into trying it at Bluewater to see how effective it is and possibly moving the speed bumps and warning signs around the city as needed.
“The No. 1 complaint in the city is speeding,” Houston said, referring to calls his office receives.
Councilman Tim McQuinn (R, Ward 3) said he encountered the temporary speed bumps in Nashville the previous week.
“They worked just fine,” he said.
In other business, the council directed city officials to look into hiring an outside firm to cut the grass of neglected lawns and to consider how to budget for it.
The city has been using parks department employees, which takes away from their usual work and increases wear on city equipment.
Houston favored charging double the hourly rate for employees who cut grass, along with an equipment fee.
Three weeks ago, the city had to cut grass three feet tall, he said. The cost to the person, placed as a lien, ran $883.
Widmer said he had a hard time justifying that amount, although Houston felt it would stop repeat offenders who use the city as a mowing service.
The council members favored an outside service and increasing fines for each time the work is done.