Thayer man asks City Council to protect private property rights
THAYER -- Eminent domain was on the mind of the Thayer City Council when they met at City Hall July 12.
Thayer resident John Hutchison was on the agenda to speak to the council regarding the recent decision by the United States Supreme Court. Hutchison asked the council to either pass an ordinance or to place the property rights issue on the ballot of the next regular scheduled city election.
"One of the few options we have left to protect property rights is through local governments. You (the council) have the unique opportunity to strengthen the rights of property owners within the city limits of Thayer," he said.
Hutchison is referring to the vote by the Supreme Court last month in a decision he says drastically expands the power of local governments to take property of private owners through eminent domain.
"Now, not only can private property be seized to build a park or a road, but also to give it to another, more wealthy property owner to increase property taxes paid on the property," Hutchison told the council members.
He suggested the ordinance should read: "The city of Thayer shall not initiate eminent domain proceedings against any property."
Thayer Mayor Allen Deckard told Hutchison that his office had been in touch with the Missouri Municipal League regarding the matter of eminent domain and was told as a fourth class city in the state Thayer would not be able to do any of the things Hutchison requested from the council.
The mayor also reminded him that the mayor and the council would not always stay the same and years in the future no matter what ordinance was passed, it could be amended.
Thayer City Attorney Jerri Lee Caskey was on vacation and did not attend the meeting.
Hutchinson said he lives on Vine Street in Thayer and has lived in the city for five years. He said he was a full-time caregiver to his mother and they jointly own a house.