Mayor Herb Adams said he’s not happy with the results from the ongoing cleanup, fix up campaign under way in the city.
Although there are signs posted around town and the code enforcement staff has written numerous letters to owners of unsightly property, Adams said he continues to see overgrown fence lines and unsightly weed patches throughout the city.
Speaking at the Aug. 20 board of aldermen meeting, Adams said he instructed the code enforcement department to enact tougher measures.
“Conditions that are out there that I pointed out to the building department are unacceptable,” he said.
The mayor also stressed that while he sees it as the obligation of elected officials to straighten the problem out, it is not as big a problem as some might think.
The question appears to be whose is at fault and who is responsible to correct the problem.
“Some people say it is the property owners who are at fault,” Adams said. “But I say it is the leadership of the city that is responsible. We condone it and live with it.”
The mayor warned aldermen that they would be receiving phone calls from constituents when tougher measures are put into place.
“I told code enforcement that sending out letters is not enough,” Adams said. “It’s the citation that works.”
Beginning at the next meeting, Adams said he would give a report every month on the number of letters and the number of citations.
“So you will be getting phone calls,” he said. “You have to decide how to handle it.”
Adams encouraged aldermen to accept responsibility for enforcing the city ordinances.
“We’re going to clean this town up,” he said. “We’re going to clean up property lines.”
There is no reason why by the end of summer that the problem cannot be straightened out, the mayor added. If not, offending property owners should have to appear in court.
The goal of the stepped-up enforcement is not fines, he said, but compliance.
“If they comply within a certain amount of time, we’ll ask for a dismissal,” Adams said. “Dollar General was issued a citation and within 48 hours the problem was corrected.”
Alderman Mike Pigg said it’s not the same to cite a corporation to make an improvement and citing a mom and dad who are working just to pay their water bill, asking them to make costly repairs.
The mayor stuck to his guns saying all cleanup is not about costly repairs. He said he visited a property recently where vines at the side of the house looked like a tree.
“It didn’t grow to that size in one year,” Adams said. “There is no excuse for not cutting the grass. We also have bulky trash pickup once a year that doesn’t cost them anything.”
“I won’t change,” he stressed. “We’re going to clean up the city.”