The search for a new leader for an expanded area economic development organization is nearly complete, city officials learned this week.

Princeton Mayor Danny Beavers briefed Princeton City Council members on the selection process under way in a new tri-county partnership, established when the former Lake Barkley Partnership for Economic Development, covering Caldwell and Lyon counties, opted to expand its reach and welcome Crittenden County as a partner earlier this year.

The organization has been without an administrator since the departure of Randy Major in the fall of 2016.

Beavers said approximately 20 “outstanding” applications had been received for the executive director’s position. The partnership narrowed that list to a dozen candidates who were interviewed by phone, then chose the top four to have follow-up, in person interviews.

The final two of those interviews were scheduled Tuesday, he said, and the partnership is expected to make their decision soon.

“We’re trying to get someone in place by the end of March,” he told the council.

Having a full-time director in place should significantly boost the area’s potential for recruiting new industry or securing expansions in existing facilities, he noted.

“Every day, we’ll have somebody working on it,” he said.

Code changes, penalty updates recommended

In other city business Monday, the council heard from Code Enforcement Officer Dickie Thomas, who presented a packet of recommended revisions to the city’s code enforcement strategy.

The recommendations had been unanimously approved by the city code enforcement board.

The first recommendation involves streamlining the violation categories in place from eight down to three: property maintenance and nuisances (structural violations),  for issues like dilapidated housing; property maintenance and nuisances (non-structural violations), for issues such as high grass; and other violations, such as violations involving business license compliance.

Different fee structures would be in place for first, second or third offenses, Thomas said.

The second recommendation is the creation of a chronic nuisance ordinance.

A person found to have been in violation of city codes three times within a one-year period could be charged as a chronic nuisance violator, a misdemeanor offense, under the ordinance as proposed.

“We have a lot of properties that we deal with where we’re just being ignored,” he told the council.

The third recommendation by the group is the establishment of a “clutter law” to target homes with issues such as multiple storage totes on a porch, buildings with tarps covering openings, etc.

• The council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, March 19, at the tourist welcome center at City Hall.