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Tell City leaders hope for big response during cleanup week

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By Vince Luecke

TELL CITY - Although Tell City's annual spring cleanup won't begin for another four weeks, city leaders aren't waiting to encourage residents to use the opportunity to rid themselves of junk in and around their homes.

The city's mayor, city council and Building Inspector Bob Young hope the June 8-12 event will also reduce the number of people violating city ordinances against accumulating trash and debris.

"We need to encourage our residents to take advantage of this opportunity to further clean up our city," Mayor Barbara Ewing said last Monday during a discussion of how to deal with violators of city ordinances against accumulating junk, not mowing tall grass and weeds and allowing homes to fall into states of disrepair.

Most city homeowners take pride in their properties, Ewing said, but others don't and she called the impact of eyesores in the city "disheartening."

Young presented a summary of violations. "It's a long list, but I'm afraid it's going to grow," he told the council in what has become a monthly discussion on how the city can clean up eyesores. Young regularly mails certified letters to property owners and posts notices at locations when he can't locate an owner.

The city regularly hauls away junk and mows weeds and bills owners, but Ewing and council members point out the city often doesn't recoup its money until the properties are sold or make their way through foreclosure. There's also the concern, Ewing said, that some property owners will decide to let the city cut their grass instead of hiring someone to do the job.

"We don't want to be in the mowing business or get ourselves into a situation where people are relying on us," she said.

City leaders have also discussed the possibility of reducing the time it gives residents to mow grass after receiving a notice from the current 10 days. State law might mandate that time, the mayor pointed out, but said the city may not have to give offending property owners a separate notice and 10-day grace period each time grass isn't mowed. "A lot of problems are with repeat offenders," she said.

Tell City's building inspector handed council members a list of addresses that have been sent letters about tall grass, junk and other violations.

Junk Mail

Young listed the following addresses as having received "junk letters" since the first of the year:

538 10th St., 833 11th St., 427 11th St., 429 11th St., 1220 Main St., 1229 Main St., 1047 Fifth St., 816 Fifth St., 1339 10th St., 1647 Ninth St., 819 13th St., 13 Lehman Drive, 1302 19th St. 602 14th St., 733 15th St., 728 13th St., 1002 Tell St., 925 11th St., 1113 10th St., 1401 Main St., 639 15th St., 1343 Main St., 1041 Main St., 1143 Main St., 1029 Main St., 805 Seventh St., 948 Sixth St., 919 Sixth St., 901 Sixth St., 910  Fifth St., 930 Fifth St., 914 Fifth St., 904 Fourth St., 1827 12th St., 1839 12th St., 1736 12th St., 1732 12th St., 1747 13th St., 423 15th St., 1621 10th St., 83 Park Ave., 523 12th St., 22 High St., 4 East Drive, 520 18th St., 1007 10th St., 1019 10th St., 1021 10th St., 1034 10th St., 1040 10th St., 1015 10th St., 1047 Main St.

Grass Letters

Young said his office has posted violations of tall grass and weeds at the following locations in the city: 1822 Jefferson St., 933 33rd St., 1236 13th St., 1647 12th St., 548 12th St., 1209 Franklin St., 1327 10th St., 1047 14th St., 1043 16th St., 919 12th St., 1033 16th St., 1048 15th St., 1022 15th St., 1012 15th St., 1421 Schiller St., 1014 14th St.,

Properties in Need of Corrective Action

Along with violation notices for tall grass and weeds and junk, Young is also tackling homes in need of repairs or that have otherwise become dilapidated. Notices were sent to owners of these addresses:

1302 Main St., 1305 Main St., 347 Main St., 416 11th St., 14 East Drive, 82 Park Ave., Janosa property in Fennhaven, two mobile homes in the 900 block of Sixth Street; a trailer court in the 900 block of Fifth Street, 1325 10th St., 1327 10th St., 1547 11th St., 508 11th St., 823 13th St., 1521 Ninth St., 1002 Tell St., 103 10th St., 135 10th St.

Young said last week he was holding off on issuing more weed letters until the return of dry weather. Some people, he said, may be willing to mow tall grass and weeds but haven't been able to do so because of recent rain.

Residents can dispose of their own items

Residents who would like to transport their own items during June's cleanup week will be able to do so during the day at the city garage and at least one evening.

"Some people don't want to set their stuff out and have people root through it," Street Commissioner Jeff Everly said, making reference to amateur treasure hunters who travel streets and alleys looking for items being disposed of.

Dumpsters will also be available the morning of Saturday, June 6, allowing residents to get rid of their items early and lightening the burden for city workers who spend the week picking up old lamps, broken televisions, leaky hoses and a mountain of other items. Postcards being prepared for mailing will give details and times.