The Butler County Landfill is donating the cost to dump some of the refuse inside the Chauncey S. Taylor House at 715 N. Fourth St. in David City.
The house and garage on the property were filled to capacity by its previous owners, Kathy and Roger Treat. They skipped town a decade ago and the place was left abandoned.
Local farmers Jeff and Cathy Klug have been responsible for cleaning out the property since June. They hoped to find salvageable items to sell for a profit, but mold and raccoons have ruined a lot of the stuff, sending the Klugs into debt.
Butler County Landfill District Manager Kelly Danielson said his wife, Julie, brought the Klugs’ predicament to his attention. Danielson noted that he lived in David City until recently.
“We were always fond of that house and always hoped that something good would happen and she (Julie) just pointed out that it seemed like they were kind of struggling to pay for all the costs, especially to get rid of the junk and stuff. Since I run the landfill I offered up to take some loads for free,” Danielson said.
City Administrator Clayton Keller said the Danielsons reached out to the city office on July 27 asking to be put in touch with the Klugs.
“They said that they wanted to help with the landfill,” Keller added.
The landfill is donating the cost of three more loads, Danielson said. The deal doesn’t cover the cost of renting the dumpster or transporting the garbage to the landfill, though, because the dumpster is owned by a different company.
“It’s not thousands of dollars but I thought if we could do something to help then we would,” Danielson said.
Even so, Cathy and one of her friends, Trish Jarnagin, said the landfill’s donation will help ease the financial burden of cleaning out the house.
“It’s over $150 or $200 every time we go,” Jarnagin said.
The City put the contents of the property up for bid in May. The deal was that whoever won the bid would be responsible for cleaning out the house and garage and could sell or keep anything they found. The City received several offers and accepted the Klugs’ bid for $8,700.
Klugs paid $2,000 to the City up front, but still owe $6,700 upon completion of the job. When that will be is still an unknown – the Klugs have been cleaning the place out for approximately two months. Cathy said she’s on her sixth load to the dump and is just reaching the top of the house.
Cathy said she’s also unsure how to pay the City back when the property is empty.
“Either I take and borrow against my 401 or we sell some cows,” Cathy noted.
But, Cathy is committed to seeing the project through. The house is important to the people of the community, she said. Moreover, she gave her word to get the place cleaned out.
“I cannot tell you the dozens and dozens of people who have stopped and thanked God that this place was going to be saved because this house means a lot to them,” Cathy said. “I’ve had people, I don’t even know their names, on my phone asking, ‘What can I do to help you?’”
The Klugs and their helpers have gotten sick working in the house and garage, though, so Cathy said she is reluctant to let anyone else help out.
Keller said he’s glad to hear people are supportive of the project.
“It helps to know that we are doing the right thing getting it cleaned up, getting it prepared, so that somebody can take it over and make it look good again,” Keller said.
There will be a yard sale at the property on Saturday and Sunday.
Molly Hunter is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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