NECAC to build homes on six properties donated by city of Hannibal

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HANNIBAL, Mo. — The city of Hannibal will be donating six properties to the Northeast Community Action Corporation.

Carla Potts of NECAC told City Council members during Tuesday’s meeting that the organization plans to build six homes for residents with low to moderate incomes. Potts said the homes will rent for $450 a month. That price includes water, sewer and trash services. Renters will be required to meet income guidelines to qualify.

Potts said anyone living in a NECAC home after 15 years can buy it at 50 percent of appraised value. NECAC typically builds three-bedroom, two-bath houses. NECAC also will be the developer, owner and manager of the properties. The properties are currently vacant lots.

Mayor James Hark and City Manager Lisa Peck will write letters of support. Potts also asked council members for similar letters of support. NECAC will apply for funds from the state next month. Potts said she should know by the end of this year if NECAC receives the grants. Construction should be completed by the end of 2022. 

Hannibal resident Ladonna Hampton shared with council information she learned after contacting the Missouri Ethics Commission about the use of public funds to advertise elections. Hampton said she interprets the law to say tax money may be used to advertise a ballot measure, but it prohibits pushing an agenda.

City Attorney James Lemon said he doesn’t disagree with that interpretation of the law. He also said the Ethics Commission does disagree. A former city manager once was fined by the commission for improper use of funds because he spent time preparing a brochure on a ballot measure. Lemon said nothing was in that brochure that pushed an agenda for or against the issue. However, that did not matter to the commission. Lemon said legislators are the only ones who can change the way the commission works. Hampton said she had tried to talk with State Rep. Louis Riggs, and he told her to take it to the city council.

In other action, the City Council approved a conservation community assistance program agreement with the Missouri Department of Conservation to help the city properly maintain and stock the pond at Huckleberry Park. The council also gave a first reading to changes to the city tree maintenance and removal ordinance. Lemon said the changes should clarify the rights of both the city and property owners regarding dangerous trees. 

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