BY STEVE JONES
It’s not quite time to mow the lawn yet, but the city is preparing for spring with a reminder that property owners are responsible for maintaining vegetation, including keeping grass at or below eight inches April through Oct. 31.
The city’s Code Enforcement Office monitors properties for compliance. Officers serve written notice on those who fail to comply with this order.
Failure to comply with this order within five days from service will result in the city correcting the situation, and the owner gets a bill for the cost of cutting and 20 percent for administrative costs as a lien against the property along with a surcharge of $150 for the first offense.
A surcharge of $250 is levied for a second offense within the calendar year of the first offense and a surcharge of $500 is assessed for a third offense within one calendar year of the second offense.
About half the time, when the city cites a property for the need to mow, it gets done before the city has to do it, according to Greg Shaver, deputy director for the Code Enforcement Office.
In 2017, the city sent its mowing crews out 297 times to cut private properties in violation of the code, Shaver said.
The city billed property owners a total of $101,197 for the work. Shaver said the city usually recoups about half of the billed amount each year, with the rest taken as a loss when it eventually takes those properties through foreclosure. Though the code requires compliance at the start of April, mowing crews aren’t deployed until late in the month, Shaver noted. He oversees the crew, which has as many as four employees. They are responsible for city-owned parcels such as those taken through foreclosure.
City properties likes parks and the lawn behind City Hall are maintained by a different crew in the Department of Parks and Recreation.