(OOLITIC) - The Oolitic Town Council decided Tuesday night to start enforcing the town's ordinances about unkempt lawns.
Homeowners will now face fines and fees if they fail to comply with the town's ordinances.
Clerk-Treasurer Jim Staley told the council he receives numerous complaints everyday about unkempt lawns or junk in yards.
"People are calling all the time," he added. "It's a problem."
Town Attorney Nathan Nikirk told the council that the ordinance clearly states the following procedures:
The town will send the homeowner a letter stating the lawn needs mowed.
The resident will then have three days to comply.
If the lawn is not mowed after the three days, the town has the right to fine the residents $100 and the town will have the street department mow the grass.That will cost the homeowner $75 an hour. Or the town can hire a private firm to mow the lawn and then bill the homeowner.
The resident will then have 10 days to pay the fine and the lawn service fee. If the fee is not paid, the amount will be added to the homeowners taxes. And if the fine and bill is still not paid, the town will put a lien on the property.
Clerk-Treasurer Jim Staley told the council that after the homeowner receives the first letter, and there is a second violation, officials will not send a letter, but will post a notice on the homeowner's door.
"If they don't get it done, then they will get a ticket and pay for the lawn to be cut," says Councilman Bill Kendall. "We have got to get this stopped."
Laraine Chastain, who lives on Lafayette Avenue addressed the council with her concerns.
"I live next to a house that is falling down and nothing is being done about it," she added. "It's like living in Slumville. He finally mowed part of the lawn for the first time in two years."
But that was because he received a letter of the violation from the town, Staley added.
Chastain also complained about her neighbor's dogs running loose.
She say a neighbor's dog from up the road came into her yard and was fighting with her dog that was tied up.
"This has happend numerous times," She added. "When I tired to pull my dog off while it was fighting with that dog the other dog growled at me and the owner of the dog got smart with me and I called police."
Chastain says not only is the grass a "hay field" the house is falling down and dangerous.
"The house is collapsing," she added. "I have to run kids out of it all the time. Someone is going to get hurt."
After addressing the issue of unsightly property, the council also brought up the issue of vehicles parking on sidewalks and fencing around swimming pools. Those issues will be addressed soon.
"It needs to stop," says Kendall. "There is no reason for a vehicle to be parked on the sidewalks."
In other business:
- The council voted to allow the Southland Church of Christ to hold a roadblock on June 7.
- Council President Delvin Nirkirk will be attending a pre-construction meeting for Safe Routes To School in Vincennes Friday.
- The council renewed a service contract with Microcom for the tower on Lafayette Avenue. The yearly contract is $1,725.
- Resident Glen Gross asked the council about the terrible smell at the corner of Vista Drive and Patton Hill. The street department will look into what is causing the odor.
- Street Department Superintendent Rick Hawkins will talk to county officials to see if they are doing to strip Old Ind. 37 between Lafayette Avenue and the bridge.
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