Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Monroe complex won't lose water

City plans alternate payment of ex-owner's $20,000 bill

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MONROE - The water will continue to flow to residents of Monroe's largest apartment complex, city officials said Monday.

Despite a $20,000-plus delinquent bill owed to the city by Exeter Management of Phoenix, the previous owner of the 140-unit apartment complex known as Monroe Terrace and Old Street Terrace, residents do not have to worry about a deadline this Thursday for a shutoff of water services.

"The water will stay on," said Acting Finance Director Jay Stewart.

Stewart said the city is pursuing other legal means of garnering payment for the water bill with the apartment complexes' new owners, Flagel Realty Inc. of Centerville, Ohio.

An attorney for Flagel declined to comment.

Meanwhile, improvements and safety upgrades are being made by Flagel, according to Monroe fire officials and the head of the Butler County Health Department.

Fire Chief Mark Neu said missing and defective smoke alarms are being replaced as the new owners work to bring the apartments up to fire and safety codes. He said city fire inspectors will tour the apartments again in two weeks for a follow-up.

Butler County Health Department Director Patricia Burg praised Flagel for moving quickly to correct what she described as serious health problems, including dead and wild animals under some apartment buildings, vacant and unlocked apartments and possible toxic mold in some units.

"The odor was pretty nasty," said Burg, who toured the site last week, "... The previous owners had put straw over dead animals under the buildings, and that's the worst thing you can do because it holds in moisture and attracts other animals.

"We're very pleased with the progress they have made."

E-mail mclark@enquirer.com

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