Gupton alleges city work on private property

Editor’s Note: This report was assembled from a recording of the meeting.

Henderson City Council member Bobby Gupton informed the Public Works Committee on Monday about his feelings on the removal of yard waste on Roanoke Avenue.

Gupton said he observed a city truck remove piles of leaves from certain houses but leave other piles of yard waste laying in the yards of neighboring houses.

“I don’t want it to be who you are in Henderson,” Gupton said. “Everyone should get the same level of service.”

Gupton noted that people should not be flagging down sanitation workers to do work. He said that the workers should report such incidents.

The recently appointed Director of Public Works Linda Leyen was present to hear Gupton’s remarks.

Leyen responded that she had discovered that one truck was “floating” behind the other trucks to get what they left behind, but that the first trucks were leaving trash for the truck that followed. She said that the “floating” truck would be picking up brush Monday through Friday in the future.

Gupton brought up another incident, calling it a “sore spot”. The council member referred to a railroad tie and a pipe discussed at a council meeting some month ago.

The railroad tie and pipe are located on the railroad that once ran parallel to Dabney Drive. Since the rails were taken up more than seven years ago, by law, the property has reverted in ownership to the owners of the adjacent land, and is thus private property. However, an abandoned railroad tie and a drainage pipe have been causing a resident some problems. When the resident approached Gupton about city intervention regarding the issue, and when Gupton subsequently brought the matter before the council, City Manager Jerry Moss informed the council that the property was now private and the city could not work on it.

According to Gupton, the railroad tie was recently pulled out of the pipe by the city.

“That’s another case of one citizen can get it, somebody else can’t,” Gupton said.

According to Gupton, it resulted in another half-day’s work because of the mess that was made after the tie was pulled out of the pipe.

Gupton said he had been made to look like a fool, since he had told the person who had inquired about removal that the city could not do it, based on what Moss had told him and the council.

“Through phone calls to other people, he got that railroad tie out of that pipe,” Gupton said.

Council member Lynn Harper expressed agreement with Gupton.

The members present briefly debated responsibility for maintenence of the property and decided that it falls on the property owner.

Council member Elissa Yount asked that a report be prepared by the city staff on how the maintenance by the city on the private property took place. They asked that labor-hours and costs be factored into the report.

City Manager Jerry Moss said that he had already told the owner of the property that the city could not perform the requested service.

Council member Mary Emma Evans asked if the complaints could be turned over to the new Public Works director.

Public Works Chair Ranger Wilkerson responded that this particular incident is “over her [Leyen’s] head”.

Evans spoke of the virtues of passing the issues along to the appropriate person and not getting “personally involved”.