ASHLAND – The responsibility for maintenance of alleys in the downtown business district was the subject of discussion last week by the Ashland City Council.

At their Oct. 3 meeting, Council Member Jim Anderson asked that the item be placed on the agenda for discussion after mentioning it a previous council meetings.

“Those alleys have been taken care of by the city since they’ve been paved,” he said.

Anderson said alleys on each side of Silver Street were paved for three blocks when Barb Schwarten was mayor in the early 2000s. The cost was assessed to the abutting property owners, he added.

When the concrete began to deteriorate, the city paid for repairs, Anderson continued. Paul Lienke was mayor at that time, he added. Anderson claims precedent has been set that the city should now pay for the necessary repairs. In previous meetings, he has noted that there is broken concrete and rebar sticking up in the alley behind Lee Sapp Ford.

Council Member Bruce Wischmann agreed that precedent may have been set.

“Because we paved and assessed, we kind of claimed responsibility for it, didn’t we?” he said.

City Attorney Mark Fahleson told the council he will work with City Administrator Jessica Quady and City Clerk Kathy Sliva on either an amendment to a current ordinance or a new ordinance regarding the matter for the next meeting.

Another issue that dates back to a former administration was also on the city’s agenda. The council approved hiring a private contractor to remove a metal storage container located at 602 Dennis Dean Road, property owned by Arlo Remmen.

Fahleson said the court gave the city authority to remove all nuisance property there. He sent a letter to Remmen’s attorney but has received no response, he added.

Remmen and the city were at odds in the early to mid-2000s over a salvage yard he operated at 602 Dennis Dean Road. After a lengthy legal battle, the city hired a contractor to come in and remove the contents. The cost was assessed to the owner.

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