County discusses waste and nuisance ordinances

Published 2:30 pm Friday, June 3, 2022

The Harlan County Fiscal Court addressed the issue of properties where people have neglected to dispose of their solid waste during a recent meeting.

Harlan County Judge-Executive called on Tony Felosi of Harlan County Solid Waste Enforcement to bring the court up to speed on the situation.

“I’ve got Tony Felosi here with us today to discuss the solid waste and nuisance ordinances,” Mosley said. “There are things in there that Tony and I have talked about … I know the court has been very clear that they are wanting to see properties cleaned up and they’re wanting to see a lot of these solid waste issues resolved. We think there are things in the ordinances that can be amended to get some more teeth into them.”

Felosi then updated the court on the ordinances.

“Both ordinances are pretty good, they just need some streamlining, like with some of the time schedules,” Felosi said.

Felosi explained the nuisance ordinance requires 30 days to comply following a verbal warning before the county can take further action.

“I think we can streamline that a little bit,” Felosi said. “What I would suggest is to let us go ahead and get some things together, present it to the court and then go from there.”

Felosi stated both ordinances should be updated.

Magistrate Paul Browning suggested checking the city of Cumberland’s code of ordinances for an example of how to update the ordinances.

Mosley mentioned some progress had been made on a property on KY 72 after a bench warrant was served.

“They didn’t appear for a court date, and finally a bench warrant was served,” Mosely said. “People need to take their court dates seriously and show up for them … We’re paying attention to who isn’t showing up and we’re contacting the Sheriff’s Office to get bench warrants served. It’s just not respectful to the process or the neighbors who are keeping their properties clean to sit there and let garbage accumulate like it’s some sort of landfill in your yard. That’s just not going to work here anymore.”

Magistrate James Howard expressed frustration with an ongoing issue in his district concerning a property which has continually seen garbage pile up.

“Tony (Felosi) goes out and talks to them and they agree (to clean up the property),” Howard said. “We sent four trailers … There was a Mack truck load of garbage on the porch…one month later – you can go down there and look at it today – and there’s three more trailer loads on the porch and in the yard.”

Howard said there was a hearing, however the issue persists. He suggested HUD should hold the property owners responsible for the state of the property.

“They should have to deal with their tenants,” Howard said.

Mosley pointed out the last time the ordinances were updated appeared to be 1994.

“I definitely think there is some updating that needs to be done,” Mosley said. “It doesn’t need to be 30 days (before further action can be taken after a verbal warning)…I think two weeks adequate. If you can’t get something done in two weeks to show a good faith effort, then we need to move forward with charges … And I agree, if you as the owner of a property are going to allow someone to live there as a tennent and not see to it that they’re paying their garbage service and that they’re keeping their property clean, then you as the landowner should be summoned to court as well.”

Mosley noted the issue will be a high priority for the county going forward.

“I’d like there to be a solid waste committee meeting in June to discuss this particular issue and other solid waste issues … And come back to the court with some ideas at the June Fiscal Court meeting,” Mosley said.

Mosley asked the court to advise Felosi on any ideas they may have concerning amending and updating the ordinances.

“Any ideas you have about amending these, get those to Tony and let’s try to have a rough draft of something to consider next month,” Mosley said.