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Commission: Veil of Tears property owner making effort

Given extra time for clean-up

The Cole County Commission has given a property owner 45 more days to clear a property on the west side of the county before possible abatement proceedings could take place.

At Thursday’s commission meeting, the hearing on 5267 Veil of Tears was about tall grass and solid waste that are still in the back yard of the residence.

Owner Wilma Smith told commissioners she and her family, some of whom have come up from Texas, have cut weeds in the front of the property and are working on other items that needed to be addressed, even though she is having to borrow money to help pay for some of the work they couldn’t do themselves.

She said the problems happened after she allowed some individuals to go into the residence after they had said they would rehab the property for her.

Instead, those individuals stripped the house of metals and other valuables and, in the process, tore up most of the structure.

County Code Enforcement Officer Mike Sapp recommended to commissioners that they give Smith the extra time, since she had been working to improve the property.

He also echoed Smith’s sentiments that the area where the property is located is not a safe one and, he noted, he had to call for sheriff’s deputies to back him up when he checked on the clean-up progress.

Veil of Tears Drive is a small subdivision of homes up the hill and south of Business 50 West, in the Apache Flats area, just west of Big Horn Drive.

Commissioners said they could tell that Smith had worked diligently at cleaning up the property, even though it wasn’t her fault for the way the property ended up in this shape. They pledged to work with her as much as possible.

In other business, Presiding Commissioner Marc Ellinger said the Sheriff’s Department had found that four months of bills that should have been sent to the state for housing prisoners, before they are sent to prison, were not sent out.

It was found that former Circuit Clerk Mary Lou Hemmel had not sent the bills and that the current clerk, Dawnell Davidson, is in the process of getting things caught up.

Ellinger said the Sheriff’s Department caught this while in the process of putting its budget together, and brought this to his attention.

“It looks like we’re behind in collections, but by the time we start putting the budget together, we should be caught up,” Ellinger said.

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