Mayor Ronald Christensen has denied threatening to tear down buildings of residents who don't comply with his cleanup plans.

The mayor earlier said he was mailing letters to about 60 residents allegedly in violation of the city's beautification ordinance.The complaints largely dealt with trash on property, but the list included 12 structures - four homes and the rest barns and sheds.

Christensen was quoted as threatening to demolish some of the buildings considered unsafe and then sending owners the bill.

Spring City, with a population of 850, is the only town in Utah that is in its entirety on the national historic register. Tom Carter, an architectural historian at the University of Utah, told a meeting last week that demolition would mean the loss not only of 19th century structures but also of the town's integrity and atmosphere.

Christensen told a special City Council meeting Tuesday night there never was a hit list and he had no intention of tearing down any historic structures.

"I never said at a council meeting or a committee that I wanted things torn down," he said.

Arlea Howell, local representative of the State Historical Society, said that while the mayor had not made that threat in any public meeting, he had done so privately.

Christensen said it would be up to property owners and the historical committee to decide what to do with the structures.

"It would have been great if we could have done this on a confidential basis and kept it out of the media," Christensen said.

"Everything would have been fine. But now the people want to hang us. And I have even furnished the rope," he said, holding up a hangman's noose.

Among the 60 people attending the meeting were some absentee property owners, some of whom had come considerable distances.

The property owners wanted to know specifically what was demanded of them, but the mayor was unable to provide any information about individual properties.

The owners were given until July 1 to clean up their properties, after which they will be subject to citation.

The City Council said that if the property is not cleaned up within 10 days after the citation, the city will do it and add the cost to the owner's property taxes.

The council also approved rewards totaling $600 for people cleaning up their properties and set aside a $300 reward for the most improved property on the list, with $200 for the second-most improved and $100 for the third.