Batesville’s Code Enforcement does not drive around looking for properties to condemn, but when the city receives multiple complaints about a property, the department and city has to take action.

Luiza Harper addressed the council about a property at 1395 Davis Lane.

“It was our understanding that it was outside the city limits,” Harper said. She had been out of state and recently moved back. After a brief discussion with Harper the council agreed to postpone any further action on the property until Jan. 1, to give Harper time to get the property up to code.

Then came 725 26th Street.

A pair are renting the mobile home on the property and working to clean it up. They’ve just installed a bathroom in the home. They have only been renting the property for a few months.

The woman said she put $2,500 down and is paying $400 a month from Joseph Lyons who is currently incarcerated in Baxter County on a Failure to Appear Felony Parole Violation.

“I put the rent on his book,” the woman told the council. Book is a term for inmate fund accounts.

The problem with that is, he doesn’t own the property. His deceased brother Anthony Lyons owned the property. Batesville Code Enforcement contacted Anothony Lyon’s mother who said she did not want anything to do with the property.

“What should I do?’ asked the woman.

“Get an attorney,” advised Timothy Meitzen, who serves as the city attorney.

After the pair yielded the floor, there was a brief discussion among council members before they voted to condemn the property.

“If we roll in there and tear it down, don’t we just add insult to injury?” asked Alderman Chris Poole.

City Engineer Damon Johnson advised the council it be June at the earliest before the city could start cleaning up the condemned properties.

Police Chief Alan Cockril told the city council that the couple was filing felony theft by deception charges against Joseph Lyons.

“I’m sorry someone has spent money on property they don’t have, but that’s not our problem,” said Alderman Tommy Bryant.

Council members agreed to proceed with resolutions to condemn 725 26th St., along with:

236 Ramsey Street, owned by Terrance James and Sheila James

1905 Neeley Street, owned by James McReynolds

1188 Grace Street, owned by Kim Clark

345 Boggs Street, owned by Kim Clark.

A construction contractor had contacted Code Enforcement on behalf of Sharon Sanders and said that they were working to rehab two properties: one at 441 River St., and one at 577 Bayou St.

The council agreed to condemn the properties, but reiterated if ample progress is made, the motions to condemn could be retracted at a future city council meeting.

“It costs the city $4,000 a lick to tear down a structure,” Alderman Bryant said, adding the city would much rather a property owner keep their property up and pay the property taxes.

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