SALISBURY, Md- For most of us, summer is in the rear-view mirror. But the city of Salisbury's Neighborhood Services and Code Compliance Department is already looking ahead.
The department is asking the city council for $20,000 to cut overgrown weeds and grass at vacant or neglected properties for next summer.
On Wednesday, Shirley Holland was doing a little raking to keep her yard crisp and clean.
"We have gotten rewards for the way our city has looked so, maintain that you know," she said.
But not everyone around the city is able to do that. That's why Neighborhood Services is hoping city council will give them money to help upkeep the city's look.
It is a request the council acknowledged at its Oct. 8 regular meeting.
"It's not just grass cutting that they deal with," said Councilwoman Laura Mitchell, "It's many things like peeling shingles off of roofs or falling gutters or siding that could fall and hurt someone."
Neighborhood Services Director Tom Stevenson said there are plenty of properties around Salisbury that are in need of attention. He said so far, the department has spent nearly $26,000 performing these services.
Stevenson said there have been 900 violations this year out which 200 have gone to third party cleaning contractors.
He said one of those properties sits abandoned on North Division Street.
Stevenson said the department went out to the property eight times since July 1, cleaning up weeds, cutting grass and boarding up windows.
"Properties that are unsecured are also an unattractive nuisance, and by boarding up the property we take away that attractiveness and try to keep people from going inside of the property," Stevenson said.
"The grass gets too tall and dry and becomes a fire hazard," he said. "It can harbor rodents, snakes and other undesirable creatures that most citizens don't want to have to deal with."
Stevenson said owners of such properties are notified two times to clean up and maintain neglected spots. By the third notice he said the city goes in and cleans up and bills the owner.
He said sometimes the city will not recover the money billed, which could force the property to be sold at tax sale.
But some people like Terrian Polk said the city should not target every neglected building.
"It brings down the value of the homes that are around the homes that are boarded up," Polk said. "Everybody that is homeless is not on drugs, not crazy. They are just going through a financial difficulty at this time."
But Holland said she is OK with the city using tax dollars to spruce things up in neighborhoods.
"We want to feel safe when we lie down at night," she said.
The money requested for grass and weed cutting will be addressed by council again at its Monday legislative session.
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:16 AM EDT2013-05-23 15:16:41 GMT
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