HAMPTON - The Hampton City Council is one step closer to being at full-strength.
At its regular meeting on Thursday, the council, which had only four members out of a possible six, appointed Patrick Palmer to a vacant at-large position.
Palmer, a former council member, and Shawn Dietz, a former mayor, both applied for the at-large seat after Russell Wood left the job to become mayor. Palmer was approved on a 3-1 vote by members Jim Davies, Bill Hodge and Barry Lamos while Richard Lukensmeyer was the lone dissenter.
Both candidates were questioned near the top of the meeting and the crux of the Q&A concerned what each would do to address the issue of nuisances and nuisance reporting in Hampton.
Dietz primarily argued that the issue was as much of a socioeconomic question as it was about enforcement while also pointing out that, to do anything, city staff needs to have support from it's council. "Identifying nuisances isn't a problem. The issue is getting through the court system," Dietz said.
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Meanwhile Palmer proposed that Hampton could split time with another city or county for a code enforcement officer. He also suggested that Hampton should look into utilizing the same SeeClickFix program as Mason City, a "civic web hack" that allows local users to file specific nuisance complaints that make their way to the relevant city officials. Mason City has fielded some 4000 requests since starting with the program 2012.
Palmer and Dietz were both questioned, more extensively, at a workshop session on Monday where they discussed their stances on social media, blight issues, ideas for change, elected official pay and housing.
The Hampton City Council still has an opening in its fourth ward which it is looking to fill in August.
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