Bill Hack, the county's solid waste coordinator, said the old ordinance is under the county's old five-year waste plan. Using it to enforce anything would mean the county was not in compliance with the state.
Magistrate Joe Leavell made a motion to pass the ordinance and move on to the advertisement phase, but many in the audience were upset that Conn's previous request to table it was overlooked.
Conn's request was then voted on. The request received no votes, and the magistrates moved on to voting on Leavell's motion to move forward with the ordinance, which passed 4-1.
The next step will be printing the ordinance in a local newspaper, with the second reading to follow.
Delay causing problems for neighborhood association
Because of the delay in the solid waste ordinance, a local neighborhood association feels its hands are tied to do anything about a house that should be condemned.
Ray Prater spoke to the magistrates on behalf of Homestead Herrington Association, a group that made up over one-third of the audience members, about a fire-damaged house at 36 Settlement Drive. The association members took turns voicing their concerns about flying debris from the charred remains and the fact that the dilapidated structure has open areas that children can wander in and out of.
Prater said the attorney general's office told him the court has full authority to make a judgment call on demolishing the house.
Moss asked Prater if the attorney general's office offered any statutes on how to proceed. The owner apparently lives out of state. Prater said that he was only told that the procedures can be enforced following the county's solid waste ordinance.
"Again, this brings us back to where we were - before the solid waste committee can do anything about it, we have to advertise the ordinance and have a second reading," Moss said.
Prater passed out a public nuisance law he copied, that stated any accumulation of rubbish on a property that endangers the health or safety or interferes with the welfare of those living on adjacent properties is in violation.
Moss again said that making a judgment on what to do would be up to the solid waste committee, once the ordinance is passed, and not the Fiscal Court.
Hack said the fire has been under investigation for arson, and the house has been in the hands of the Environmental Protection Agency and the insurance company. If the county tears down the structure, it could be liable to pay the owner any settlement money previously due from the insurance company.
After Prater referred to taxation without representation, in complaining about the court's refusal to do anything about the property at this time, many in the courtroom clapped.
"We're looking to our elected officials to help us with this, and it's been dragging out now for over a year," Prater said.
One resident asked the court what it expects residents to do if a child gets hurt around the collapsing house, asking if they should then get an attorney and sue Garrard County for not taking action.
For several minutes, the crowd talked amongst themselves with no direction toward any elected official, and no one on the court interrupted the simultaneous discussion.
A promise to rush the ordinance through
After many of the Homestead Herrington residents pleaded with magistrates, the court ended deliberation with its promise to advertise the ordinance for the minimum seven-day requirement, and to call a special meeting in late March to rush the ordinance through in hopes of moving forward with demolishing the structure.
A citizen spoke out about special meetings that have been called in the past by the court and how the general public was not finding out about them until it was too late.
"So, I've decided to pass these reminders out to you all in hopes that you'll make sure that you follow them so that concerned citizens can stay informed," Kenneth Robinson said as he handed out copies of the state open meetings law, adding that he just wanted the court to do the right thing.
Fiscal Court will hold a special meeting at 8:30 a.m. March 25 for second reading and adoption of the solid waste ordinance.
A copy of the ordinance is available in the county judge's office during normal business hours.