The dissolution of Laurie’s Municipal Court took a firm step forward with the unanimous passage of an ordinance declaring the 26th Judicial Circuit Court of Morgan County the Municipal Court of Laurie. At the board of aldermen meeting Sept. 12, City Clerk Ron Clarke told the board he had submitted the ordinance to the county for review, and they had confirmed everything was in order. He also informed the board he had been told it may take up to six months from the ordinance’s approval before the transition is effective.
A second discussion updating the existing Nuisance Ordinance was on the docket. A number of complaints about overgrown vegetation had been brought to the board about both commercial and residential property. The proposed amendment would be a blanket coverage within city limits declaring any ground vegetation over 12 inches a nuisance.
Mayor Allen Kimberling pointed out that some people in city limits grew hay on their property, and this ordinance wouldn’t allow such things. Alderman Jeff Chorpening asked about any “common sense” solution for such things. Clerk Clarke stated a permit could be made available, but that would create excessive paperwork for everyone involved. Another solution brought forth was to declare agriculturally zoned lots exempt, but it was pointed out that a number of hay-growing lots were zoned differently. The board decided to table the ordinance until a solution could be found.

O Road Water Line and GIS Updates
The board received suggestions from the Bartlett & West engineering firm on their assistance with the O Road Water Extension. Among their suggestions were to create an hourly contract with a price cap for assistance in the grant applications, updating the GIS system for the grants and setting the date of a bond election. Mayor Kimberling asked the board if they were possibly putting the cart before the horse with their rapid movements on the water line.
“Are we getting ahead of ourselves with this water project?” he asked.
Clerk Clarke responded, telling him that the sooner they get everything updated and ready, the sooner they could be done.
“If we start now, we can be done with it in two or three years,” Clarke said.
As the board was already looking to contract Bartlett & West for an update of their GIS system, their discussion was focused on the election date and cost of the contract. It was determined to approve an hourly contract for up to $12,800 that would include a GIS update focused on O Road. Additionally, the board opted to put the bond issue on the April 3 ballot.
Bartlett & West were also approved to update the overall GIS system, and train city employees in its use. The cost for that will be $4,957.

Adding Teeth to the Nuisance Ordinances
The board was appraised of City Attorney Andrew Renken’s finding of a measure that would allow the city to take care of nuisances in a meaningful way. Up until now, the board had only been able to issue courtesy notices, followed by tickets. If property owners were uncooperative, there was little that the city could do.
Renken had found that the existing ordinances for both general nuisances and dangerous buildings contained a provision that would allow the city to take care of the nuisance themselves, and then level a “special assessment” for the cost to the property owners. The assessment would then go to the county, who would roll it into the real estate tax. All the board needed to do was create an agreement with the county. The board approved the agreement.

Other Business
The board approved a change to the Hillbilly Fairgrounds rental contract to include a provision that would allow owners of cook shacks the right of first refusal to work an event. This came after Laurie resident and cook shack owner Barry Campbell took advantage of the Citizens Communications to voice his disappointment that the Rotary had refused to allow him to work at the Fall Follies Car Show, along with their free use of the Fairgrounds.
“I don’t agree with letting certain groups use the Fairgrounds without paying a fee,” Campbell said. “If one group is allowed free use, they should all get free use.”
Following his statements, the board assured him a solution was on the agenda. The board noted that there was a disparity between the cook shack owners contract and the rental contract that had allowed this loophole. They unanimously approved the change.
Clerk Clarke informed the board that the street paving was complete, with the exception of the manhole covers being brought level with the road. He said the extension collars for that task were on the way, and it should be completed soon.
The board approved an agreement with Our Shady Acres for water meters and payments. It is the same agreement they have with a number of businesses in Laurie.
The board was informed that Chris Holloway had purchased a cook shack, and intended to open the “Pizza Pizzaria 2”.