The New Llano Town Council voted with two yeas, two nays, and one abstain regarding whether or not to condemn a home. Mayor Freddie Boswell vocalized that the abstain vote counts as a nay.
According to the Lawrason Act, the mayor is to be the tie-breaker in situations like this.
Council agreed at their March meeting to give the residents of 302 3rd St. a 30-day extension to make progress on home improvements.
Town Engineer Jim Verzwyvelt said the repairs would far exceed the cost of the home.
Thirty days later, one of the three residents and the owner gave an update at Tuesday’s council meeting. They claim there have been several improvements to the dining room and living room since March.
Some council members conveyed skepticism because no one has inspected the interior of the home to verify improvements.
The owner and residents were provided with a list of required repairs about six months ago.
“Time is up,” Boswell said. “We haven’t seen anybody doing anything.”
Councilman Terry Speicher said the family does not have a permit for the renovations they are conducting.
The resident of the home told council she believes Spiecher should not be a part of the conversation due to a conflict of interest.
Speicher is their nextdoor neighbor and has allegedly made several offers to buy the property.
Speicher immediately agreed to recuse himself from the decision and made no further comment on the subject.
Some council members also expressed concern about the fact that the house needs to be levellel. The residents say they installed new flooring and windows, which could warp and possibly break if the levelling is conducted after the fact.
Councilwoman Carolyn Todd motioned to proceed with condemnation as the requirements to avoid this action have not been fulfilled. “I think this has been prolonged enough,” she said.
Councilman Ervin Wilson showed great concern about this issue. “I’m not for kicking people of their house,” he said. “I want to make sure I did all I could do.”
Boswell noted Verzwyvelt, who was not present at the Tuesday meeting, said the house is “dangerous and moldy.” The residents disagree with this assessment.
Council voted on whether or not the house should be town down.
Todd and Cooper voted in favor of condemning the house, Wilson and Maurice Johnson voted nay and Speicher abstained.
According to Louisiana law, this tie vote should have been broken by the mayor. Instead, he declared an abstained vote counts as a nay. “You have two and two and one abstain. Abstain means no,” Boswell said.
At this time, the house will remain standing.
A special meeting will be held at noon on Thursday, May 10 at New Llano’s Town Hall.
Verzwyvelt will inspect the house before that date. “If nothing is done, then it will be torn down,” Boswell said.
Council also discussed the possible condemnation of a property at 117 Lake St. The residents were not present so council agreed to hold off on any decision until next month.