Thief River Falls City Council Agrees To Annexation Of “Health Hazard” Property

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The Thief River Falls City Council this week agreed to the annexation of a single property after Township and County officials pleaded with City Leaders to help them address an on-going public health hazard.

Rocksbury Township Chair, Nancy Tofte, and Pennington County Commissioner, Bruce Lawrence, urged the city to allow annexation of the property at 1412 Greenwood Street, saying the home’s malfunctioning septic system; which was condemned some time past, poses a Health Hazard to the Neighborhood.

Without any infrastructure of their own, township and county officials have been unable to deal with the problem, but have secured a $26,000 grant through the local Soil and Water Conservation District to pay the cost of connecting the home to city utilities; as well as “pumping out and crushing” the toxic septic system.

The home can not be connected without annexation, but city leaders have been reluctant to pick up the cost of also cleaning up the property which is in full violation of City Junk ordinance.

With no similar ordinance in the County, the property owner has collected vehicles, bicycles and other items that has made the made the area a breeding grounds for mosquitoes and is attracting vermin. Police Chief Dick Wittenberg says a “good faith” effort to clean up the home has already started to “degrade” telling the council this week, “we’re losing ground there.”

Ultimately, City Officials agreed, out of concern for neighbors, to allow annexation, forcing the homeowner into compliance with city ordinance, with all parties agreeing to continue to talk about the cost of clean-up, but, you can see it all for yourself, when this week’s City Council is broadcast in living color, beginning tonight at 8pm on Sjoberg’s Cable Channel #3.

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