KINGMAN - A Florida company, PRI Asset Management may receive a surprise when it tries to sell a piece of property on Willow Ranch Road. The county has placed a nearly $10,000 lien on the property after hiring H&S Hauling to demolish several abandoned mobile homes, trailers and dispose of trash that was littering the property.
"We (Building Division) received our first complaint through Supervisor Gary Watson's office on the Willows Ranch property on March 25," said Building Technician HaliKae Hiser. "On that date we drove out, inspected and posted the property as a 'dangerous building.'"
The Building Division was able to fast-track the Willows Ranch Road cleanup due to the formation of the new Mohave County Abatement Action Committee, Watson said.
The committee is designed to help streamline the process and decrease the amount of time it takes the county to clean up abandoned or dangerous properties. The committee is made up of representatives from County Environmental Health, Building, Planning and Zoning, Civil County Attorney, Parks, Flood Control and Environmental Rural Area Clean-up Enforcement departments.
The committee allows Mohave County "to tackle each situation in the most efficient way," said Development Services Director Nick Hont. "Each division and department has different rules that apply," Hont said.
"In committee, we discuss the cases and apply the most applicable statutes," Hont said. "County attorneys Bob Taylor and Dolores Milkie help us identify the most efficient manner to get the job done."
On the Willows Ranch Road project, "we used the building codes which, in the case of a designated 'dangerous building,' gives the county authority to act," Hont said.
The Building Division can go in through the Property Maintenance Code and take everything out, Hiser said. And, "where Environmental Health has to go to court to put a lien on a piece of property to pay for a cleanup, the Building Division does not."
The first thing that is done is to "post the property as being dangerous," she said. "Then we send a letter to the owner requesting compliance. There was no response from PRI Asset Management. We sent another mailing telling them when we recorded the property as dangerous. The certified letters were not signed for by PRI and were returned.
"Once the property is certified as a 'dangerous structure,' the chief building official has the authority to go onto the private property and remove the structures and put a lien on the property," Hiser said. "As long as the site is posted, we have done our due diligence. We received a bid from H&S Hauling at $8,510 and we were ready to go as of June 26. We had to wait until the new budget was approved."
The division received approval on the project on Aug. 18, and the abatement took place Aug. 19, she said. "The actual cost we paid out of pocket was $8,148 - $362 under the bid."
Hiser certified that the property is no longer a danger and then put the item on the agenda before the Board of Supervisors for a lien. The amount of the lien will include the $8,148 plus the cost of all certified mailings, filings, paperwork and trips to the site.
"We will put all that on the cost to the property owner," Hiser said. "I haven't itemized it yet, but it will be close to $10,000," to pay back for those taxpayer funds used to remove the dangerous eyesore.
Within the next four weeks, "I have four more projects," she said.
One neighbor was impressed with the Abatement Action Committee's success. "I wanted to let you know the cleanup work at the Willows Ranch property adjacent to mine has been completed," Mat Turckel wrote in a letter to Watson. "The firm the county hired to do the project did a wonderful job. I went to the property today to check the progress and, to my surprise, it was just beautiful."