MP City Council puts grass ordinance on the fast track
By BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
Clip it or get a ticket.
Attempting to speed up the process to have tall grass clipped more quickly on properties, the Mt. Pleasant City Council Wednesday night passed the first reading of an amendment to the grass mowing procedures. The council will have a second reading on the ordinance during its June 11 meeting and may waive the third reading.
If the third reading were waived, the ordinance would become law after published in the Mt. Pleasant News.
“This (proposed ordinance) allows us to speed up the process when we have areas in need of mowing,” explained Councilman Terry McWilliams, chairman of the council’s ordinance committee.
“I think it is great,” added Mayor Steve Brimhall. “It speeds up the process and we want to get this in place.”
Major change in the ordinance is notification language.
Amended notification language reads as follows: “Notification may be in the form of an ordinance or sent by regular mail to the recorded property owner as listed in the records of the Henry County Assessor…Notification in the form of an ordinance means formal notice will be given to all residents, by publication in the city’s official newspaper (Mt. Pleasant News), that if a violation of Chapter 13, article III exists on their property, the city will proceed with abatement procedures immediately upon discovery of such violation.
“When the nuisance exists on a property occupied by a structure, the city will attempt to post a notice to abate on or near the front entrance of the residence or business, prior to the city abating it and assessing the costs against the property owner. If the nuisance exists on an empty lot, notice to abate will be issued only in the form of a certified letter to the property owner as listed in the records of the Henry County Assessor.”
Grass, weeds or brush, according to the ordinance, shall be cut, mowed and maintained so as not to exceed six inches in developed and undeveloped residential areas, and business and industrial areas. In agriculture areas not exempted, the maximum height is 15 inches.
In other agenda items, the council approved the purchase of a new street sweeper. The current street sweeper is deteriorating rapidly according to city officials and recently was “band aided” so it could be used until the new sweeper arrives, which could be two or three months.
Brimhall noted the life of a street sweeper is relatively short, maxing out at 10 years “if we are lucky. We need this,” he said.
Street sweepers also are costly. The city will make a $50,000 down payment on the 2014 Elgin Street Sweeper and make five annual payments of $26,171.56 for the machine.
Council members also hosted a public hearing and approved an amendment to the fiscal 2014 budget. Florence Olomon, city clerk, said the amendment “is an annual readjustment of line items by department.”
The amendment adds just over $1.1 million in expenditures to the current budget. Most of the sum ($988,354) is for capital projects. The amendment reduces the city’s anticipated ending fund balance on June 30, 2014, to $1,643,441.
Final action saw the council:
• Approve the hiring of Carrie Cooksey-Alvarez as the police department administrative assistant. She will replace Nancy Krieger who is retiring from the position effective May 31. Cooksey-Alvarez, who currently works part-time at the department, will be paid an annual salary of $32,240.
• Increased the compensation for trustees of the Mt. Pleasant Municipal Utilities from $100 to $150 per month. The chairman’s salary will rise from $200 to $250 monthly.
• Approved a request from Henry County Relay for Life to close Broad Street from Broadway to Main streets and North Main from Broad to Taft streets for this year’s Relay for Life event July 12. The hours the streets will be closed are from 3-8 p.m.
Council members meet again in regular session Wednesday, June 11, at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers of City Hall.