BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – More than 80 abatement letters were sent out last month to resident in Fort Madison to move abandoned vehicles within city limits.
The deadline for moving the vehicles Friday and City Building Director Doug Krogmeier said the city’s gotten some good and bad reactions.
“We’ve gotten a lot of response on both sides of this thing,” he said.
“Some people moving vehicles, some saying they should have taken care of it before, and some still there.”
Krogmeier said residents had 10 days to appeal the abatement letters and 10 additional days to resolve the issue for a total of 20 days.
He said the city has sent letters of abatement like this in the past, but this year they have the support to take action against those that don’t resolve the issue.
“We haven’t had the support to get that many resolved in the past. But the Police Department is jumping on it right now and Matt Mohrfeld was instrumental in giving this a push,” he said.
Krogmeier said police are working with residents to get the issues resolved, but eventually some will have to be towed per city code.
Mohrfeld, the mayor-elect, and current city councilman, campaigned in part of increase efforts to clean up properties in the city and push other beautification efforts.
Mohrfeld was unable to be reached Saturday for comment.
City officials put residents on notice in November that the abatement stickers and letters were coming.
The move is intended to get vehicles the city deems abandoned off the streets and even private property if they aren’t stickered and functional, as part of ramped beautification efforts.
Residents can rectify the abatements, by either putting the vehicle in an enclosed building, getting the vehicle operable and with proper registration or removing the vehicle.
If the city tows the vehicle, owners can reclaim the property after paying towing fees and providing a place to store the vehicle other than a yard perpetuating the nuisance.
Fort Madison City Code 6-4-1 governs city staff on handling property nuisances and abatements.