Roanoke Town Council again fines resident for building code violations

The Roanoke Town Council handed out another substantial fine to a resident for failing to resolve building code violations at her house during its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 19.

The board assessed Casandra Emley, the occupant of 775 Seminary St., with a $5,000 civil penalty for willful failure to comply with a continuing order of enforcement from the Huntington Countywide Department of Community Development (DCD) that details what needs to be corrected at her property, which she is buying on contract.

Council previously leveled a $5,000 fine at Emley at its meeting on June 20. That fine was for willful failure to comply as well.

Upon receiving notice of the fine, Emley will have 10 days to challenge it in court and 15 days to pay it. If the fine goes unpaid, it will be assessed as a lien against the property. Should that happen, Adrian Halverstadt, the town’s legal counsel, said that he was unsure if it would make the cutoff date for the fall property tax bill.

Emley’s bill already includes the previous $5,000 fine, as well as a $1,000 penalty, also for willful failure to comply, that was issued by the board on Oct. 18 last year.

In the event that this bill and the spring property tax bill both go unpaid, the property will be eligible for tax sale next fall, stated Halverstadt.

Council decided to assess the second $5,000 fine after it received an update on Emley’s progress on the property from Mandy Woods and Greg Ricker, executive director and building inspector, respectively, with DCD. The two inspected the property on Aug. 30. Woods noted that just one violation from the continuing order of enforcement merited reclassification from the document’s high-priority section to its not-currently-in-violation section.

The board has the authority to assess another $5,000 fine in 90 days if it remains unsatisfied with Emley’s progress. Council can continue issuing penalties in 90-day intervals for as long as it deems necessary.

DCD will conduct another inspection of the property on Dec. 5, at the board’s behest.

In other business:

Phil Hibbert, the town’s supervisor of operation, informed council that he had learned the town would be receiving a substantial amount of funding from the Indiana Department of Transportation’s Community Crossings Matching Grant program, which assists municipalities in paying for road infrastructure projects. Hibbert stated that he would know exactly how much funding the town had received when INDOT representative Toni Mayo visits Roanoke on Friday, Sept. 22.

The town’s fall cleanup day is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 23. Dumpsters, including receptacles for e-waste, will be available for the community to use in the town hall parking lot all day.

Clerk-Treasurer JoAnne Kirchner noted that the public hearing for the town’s 2018 budget would be Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m. at town hall.