SIKESTON - The Sikeston Housing Authority and Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority will cooperate in identifying problem structures.
Bill Mitchell of the Sikeston Housing Authority confirmed during the LCRA's regular meeting Monday that under an agreement reached Feb. 14, the Housing Authority will notify the LCRA of houses that are vacated and no longer habitable.
Section 8 housing must meet standards, Mitchell explained. When a structure is removed from the list of eligible homes by the Housing Authority, it will notify the LCRA of the location and condition of the home so the property doesn't become a substandard rental property.
Mike Bohannon, LCRA chairman, said he wanted to reiterate "how much we appreciate the help the Sikeston Housing Authority has given us over the last year."
Noting it helped the LCRA get its start with $100,000 in seed money, Mitchell said the Housing Authority is continuing to help the LCRA where it can. "We're here to support you," he said.
Offering as an example a recent project in conjunction with the Department of Public Safety to fund cameras for crime control in public housing areas and streets in public housing areas, Mitchell said the goal is "enhancing the entire community through the Public Housing Authority."
Mitchell recalled how the Housing Authority requested a 25 percent reduction in the number of Section 8 vouchers but was only approved for a 10 percent reduction.
He said if there is a reduction in the number of applications, the Housing Authority will request another 10 percent reduction. Mitchell noted, however, that "a voucher is portable. ... It is a movable document." Those approved for Section 8 elsewhere could find housing here, he explained.
LCRA board member Sue Rogers said she has received complaints there are no Section 8 houses available, but Mitchell said any house torn down by the city or the LCRA could not possibly meet Section 8 standards.
In other action by the LCRA during Monday's meeting:
* Bohannon said with close to 60 vacant lots for the LCRA to mow and maintain, he would like to see a repeat of last year's successful youth mowing program.
Last year the bid was awarded to Business Research Institute which hired around 20 youth to mow the LCRA lots.
David Crader, attorney for the LCRA, said while the LCRA is not required to bid the contract out, "I think it's a good process."
Bohannon said the program teaches youth to take pride in their work as well as enabling them to earn some spending money.
* Bohannon noted the southwest wing of the old First Baptist Church on South Kingshighway is already down after about two weeks of demolition.
"A.C. James estimated it would take about two months to get it down," said Trey Hardy, community redevelopment coordinator, "so he's making very good progress."
* Bohannon asked for an update on the ability of the code enforcement division to demolish a structure found to be a health or safety hazard immediately such as burned-out structures.
"The city attorney is in the process of setting up the guidelines," Hardy reported.
"We need a way to get these things addressed," Bohannon said.
* LCRA board members dismissed their acquisition action on property on Alabama Street owned by Victor Williams.
"I did not receive notification of it when the process first began," Williams said, adding that he misunderstood the court date and sent a letter to Crader advising he did not want to sell. The process started in July of last year, according to Crader.
Williams said he would bring the property into compliance with city code and that he intends to build a home there. "I did go and clean that property up," he said, and presented recent pictures of the property to the board. "This is what the property looks like as of today."
Bohannon agreed the property looks a lot different than the picture brought to the LCRA when the property was targeted for acquisition. "It's obvious you put some money into it," he said. "It looks a lot better."
* Board member declined to take any action halting acquisition action on property located on Westgate owned by Darnell Nelson until they see evidence of Nelson's stated intentions.
"They want me to give it to them but it's not for sale," Nelson said of the LCRA's offer on the property.
Nelson said he would take down the burned-out house and clean the lot up. "I was planning to put a house on it," he said. He also brought up the possibility of putting a mobile home there but was advised zoning restrictions no longer allow them there.
Crader said he had offered $800 for the property as-is, and the board had offered $250.
As the lot is only 40 feet wide and 120 feet deep, Rogers said it would be difficult to build on the lot.
City officials offered to assist Nelson in his request to have a line removed at the property.
Bohannon said the board will reconsider the property during its March 14 meeting.
* Board members agreed to offer $1,000 for two vacant lots on Dorothy, one of which was targeted for acquisition but has since been cleaned up.
The owner asked for $3,000 each on the two lots and $24,000 for an adjacent home.
The Board agreed it was not interested in the home but could take the two lots and replat them into a single lot for development.
* With the first batch of targeted properties moving along through the acquisition process, Bohannon asked Hardy to submit a list of more unoccupied properties.
"We need a new target list of 50," Bohannon said.
* Bohannon noted that BRI is building homes in the Sunset area targeted for redevelopment.
He also discussed having the LCRA provide lots and lot preparation and being reimbursed for the cost by developers.