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City Seeks Lien To Recoup Costs
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A lengthy - and expensive - clean up of property at 2218 Vine in Escalon will be the subject of a public hearing at an upcoming Escalon City Council meeting.

The hearing is on the agenda for the May 17 meeting but likely will just be noted at that time, with the formal hearing to be continued for additional public comment and possible action by the council at the first meeting in June. That session is set for Monday, June 7.

Among those working on the clean up of the site was Escalon Code Enforcement Officer Katie Kirkbride. Between her efforts, coordinating with the city and its Public Works employees, and the work done by her predecessor, Kelly Pangilinan, the process took about seven years.

Much of the time early on dealt with notices of violation issued, contact made via follow-ups and requests for clean up.

"It started back when Kelly was doing it, probably in 2002," Kirkbride explained. "You're talking about the citations, contacts, follow up, and court time."

Interim City Manager Henry Hesling said putting the 'abatement of nuisance' public hearing in motion is one of the steps the city is taking to place a lien on the property in hopes of recouping some of its costs.

The council will take comment on the issue at the hearing as well as be updated on the overall city efforts. The property was in disrepair for years and, by the time Public Works crews came in to assist with the clean up, there were multiple Dumpsters of debris taken from the site.

"We took out seven-and-a-half loads," Kirkbride said. "The large ones (Dumpsters). There was a lot of stuff."

At the time of the clean up, there was no water or electric service to the property. The resident had been cited multiple times for a variety of violations, including keeping a goat on the property inside city limits.

Hesling said it is important for the city to move ahead with the lien process.

"This is something where the cities go ahead and abate the nuisance but this is taxpayers' money that we abate it with," he said, noting that the city definitely wants to recoup the costs.

And as much as he wants to see some of the money come back, it's also an educational process. Many residents were aware of the eyesore property and the city did log multiple complaints regarding it.

"Just liening the property doesn't mean we'll get the money back," Hesling admitted. "But I think this is a process we have to start."

The property owner will be given an opportunity to "plead their case" at the June 7 public hearing, said Hesling, and other residents will also have the chance to comment on the issues.

Along with getting back some of the money spent on the effort through the response of various departments, Hesling said it can also be used for educational purposes.

"We're asking citizens to comply with the ordinances," he said of wanting residents to maintain their property in good condition.

The property in question on Vine can be sold after a three-year period for any unpaid delinquent assessments and liens, noted Hesling.

The hearing will be held as part of the regular council meeting in the Ekholm Room of the Escalon Library, 1540 Second St.