Monday, January 16, 2017

Mow The Yard/Cleanup The Property!


Every city in Arkansas is fighting a battle to keep property cleaned up and repaired.  Warren is no exception as our city council talks about these issues almost every month during council meetings.  In fact the city of Warren has torn down or cleaned up numerous structures and mowed a number of lots over the past several years.  Yet so much more remains to be done.

Why has this issue become so big?  Several reasons come to mind.  As our population has changed both in numbers and socioeconomic status, some homes and businesses have been abandoned while others have not been properly maintained due to lack of financial ability or simply an attitude of "its mine, I don't have to."   It is also true that commercial buildings sometimes face the identical fate.  In some cases the owner seems to be working to make the tax payers foot the bill for clean up so they don't have to or so they can pocket the insurance money that was paid as a result of a fire or storm.

People often ask, "what can the city do?"  Well here it is in a nutshell!  If a piece of property, house, building or vacant lot is not kept reasonably clean and repaired, it can be ordered cleaned or repaired by the city.  The city council is the only authority that can take action.  Once that action is approved, the owner must be notified in writing and given a deadline.  If no action is taken, the city can conduct the cleanup or repairs or hire it done and send the owner a bill.  Most of the time the owner refuses to pay.  Then the city must place a lien on the property which will have to be paid before taxes can be paid or the property can be sold.  Often times the taxes go delinquent and after a couple of years the land is sold by the state and the lien has to be paid by the buyer.  It can take a long time.  It can also cost the taxpayers a lot of money on the front end while the city waits and hopes for payment down the road.  In some cases the property is never sold.

The process is not easy and not fast, it is, however, at times necessary.  It appears to be becoming more necessary as time marches on.

While the law does not require any one to maintain a residence or business in a golf course state of existence, every home owner and landlord should see to it that property is mowed regularly and that the yard and structure is not stacked up with junk or garbage.  It cost very little to keep property relatively clean and orderly.  It also protects the value of your property and that of your neighbors.

We urge the Warren City Council to strengthen it's ordinances where possible and to vigorously enforce the law.  Yards do not need to look like junk yards and salvage yards and grass should be kept cut.  Dilapidated structures should be torn down or repaired as needed and every effort should be made to make property look decent.  This includes commercial businesses.  We encourage the city to pursue payment from property owners in every way legally possible to reimburse the taxpayers who are being forced to pay for cleanup that is the responsibility of the owner.

It appears the Warren City Council is trying.  Let's support their efforts.     

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