The Medaryville Town Council has a hot topic on their agenda this week as they plan to discuss the town’s mowing ordinance. The ordinance currently requires property owners to maintain their properties and ensure their weeds and grass are cut below five inches for the remainder of the season. The ordinance is enforced, and while it brought some uproar in the beginning, town council member Derrick Stalbaum said the ordinance just common sense.
“I’ve always been raised in the sense that you take care of your properties and make them look presentable, and I think that when you live in a town or you own property in a town, you just have certain things that you should meet up with. And I think that’s the same no matter what town you even look at or if you’re even in a bigger city and you have a housing organization,” said Stalbaum.
Stalbaum said the ordinance is really no different from any other mowing ordinance in nearby communities. Grass must be cut to a reasonable length of less than five inches, and if not, a letter is sent to the property owner. If the grass is not cut within a period of time, the town solves the problem.
“The way that the ordinance actually works is that we are going to send out letters, pretty much at the beginning of every summer, to any house or property that’s in violation. And then after we send out those letters, they basically say, ‘This parcel or this lot is in violation of the mowing ordinance,’ and then of course it cites the ordinance, and then the property owners has 10 days to get it back to meeting the ordinance or the town will then come in and mow it for them at a reasonable cost,” Stalbaum explained.
He said he feels most people that are opposed to the ordinance are out-of-town residents who own property in Medaryville, while the full-time residents seem to be complying well.
The ordinance cites a $125 reasonable cost to mow the property, and while that might seem like a lot compared to the amount you might pay your nephew to mow it, Stalbaum said that’s because there are a lot of expenses involved in the process for the town.
“We do want to make it known that that cost isn’t just for someone to come in and mow their yard. Currently we have one maintenance person for our town who would be doing that. That’s covering our fees to actually get him to go do that, his hourly pay – which is all overtime pay – that covers our materials, that covers gas and fuel, that covers insurance,” said Stalbaum.
He went on to say that the fee also covers the cost of office workers assembling the paperwork to send the letter, postage for certified mail, and the research done to ensure the parcel number is correct. On top of that, many people refuse to pay the fee, so the town has to take on the expense of filing liens and cover other attorney fees. He said the town hardly breaks even in the end.
The town council will discuss the matter Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. ET.