November 4, 2010

Volunteers Join Forces With City, County to Start Building Cleanup

Dozens of volunteers from the Weaverland Disaster Service joined forces with City of Memphis and Scotland County workers on Friday and Saturday to start the clean-up process on the south corner of the west side of the city square where two buildings collapsed last month.

The volunteers worked amid the debris, sorting materials in an effort to help divert as much of the materials from the landfill as possible. With the use of city and county heavy machinery as well as equipment provided by Ed Good of Ed's Used Machinery, workers removed trash, wood, and metal from the bricks and concrete.

The metal was sorted and removed by truck and will be recycled or sold for scrap.

The cleaned brick and concrete was removed from the site and will be used at a later date for fill around road tubes and other construction projects in the county.

Street Superintendent Roy Monroe indicated several dozen truckloads of the cleaned fill were removed from the disaster site, offering a twofold benefit. The materials will not only be able to be reused, but by diverting them from the landfill, the efforts are expected to save the community the cost of hauling and disposing of the materials in a landfill.

Initial estimates for cleanup of the site had placed the cost at $40,000 - $50,000; the majority of which would cover the cost of tonnage rates at the landfill.

The two-day effort ended Saturday afternoon when supervisors deemed the majority of the salvageable brick had been removed.

City representatives estimated that the efforts likely reduced the amount of debris that will have to be hauled to the landfill by as much as half.

Weaverland Disaster Service, the Missouri branch of the national Mennonite Disaster Service organized work crews of volunteers on both Friday and Saturday.

Board member Irwin Oberholtzer stated the project was a bit different than work the group normally undertakes, such as clean-up following tornadoes or floods, but that didn't stop approximately 50 different volunteers from showing up to help on Friday or Saturday.

County crews under the direction of road supervisor Mark Drummond provided a track hoe as well as rock trucks to assist in the efforts along with the city's trucks, a backhoe and loader.

Employees from both the city and county put in overtime hours on the project.

The efforts also uncovered numerous personal items from the former Rodgers Jewelry Store. The volunteers helped recover several loads of items much to the pleasure of family members on hand on Saturday.

While the ownership of the southern-most building is being decided by the court system, the city pursued a joint clean-up effort in conjunction with the Rodgers family. Their building was insured and preliminary discussions between Continental Western Group and the city have indicated that the insurance coverage will pay a percentage of the clean-up costs, based on a ratio established by the two buildings' dimensions.

The remainder of the cleanup cost will be assessed as a lien against the corner property.

Task Management Corporation is listed as the owner of the property. The corporation was officially dissolved by the Missouri Secretary of State's Office in 2001, less than a year after its creation because the proper paperwork was never filed with the state.

The property was subject to a second tax sale notice by the Scotland County Collector seeking payment of backed property taxes from 2007, 2008 and 2009, totaling $2,433.83 with fines and costs included.

The tax sale was held August 23, 2010 on the courthouse steps but no bid was made on the property.

If the delinquent taxes and any additional liens go unpaid again in 2010, the property will be listed for a third and final time in the public delinquent tax sale. The property will be offered for sale by auction, with the minimum starting bid being the unpaid tax bill and accompanying liens.

With a portion of the unpaid taxes as well as the lien from the clean-up fees being owed to the city, Memphis could ultimately become the property owner if an agreement can be reached with the collector, who under Missouri Statute Chapter 140, ultimately has the power to sell any property unclaimed through three separate tax sales. The sale price likely would be the county's portion of the unpaid tax liability.

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