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City gets serious about grass, trash, and junk

by Dolores Hamilton
Property owners who receive a letter from the City of Iowa Park concerning overgrown grass and weeds or junk on their property may want to reconsider leaving it up to city crews to take care of the problem.
The Iowa Park Code of Ordinances, Section 6.03.004 states, “It shall be unlawful for any person who shall own or occupy any lot in the city to allow weeds, rubbish, brush or any other unsightly, objectionable or unsanitary matter to grown on said lot. In the event any person fails to comply with these requirements within the time limits specified in section 342.006 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, the city may do the work required to abate such condition(s), pay for the work required to abate such condition(s) or take such other action as may be permitted by applicable law following notice by the city to such person in accordance with said statute.” Thereafter, the city “may assess its expenses against such property and obtain a lien against such property in accordance with section 342.007 of the Texas Health and Safety Code.
Now in effect, all work performed by the city or an authorized contractor of the city will be assessed an administrative fee of $250 for each work order. In addition, a minimum fee of $100 will be assessed for any work performed which will include up to two hours of labor and two hours of equipment use. Any work in excess of two hours will be charged an additional labor charge and equipment fee.
After receiving a letter from the city, the owner of occupied property has 10 days to comply or will receive a summons to municipal court and issued a fine. The city can fill out a work order to take care of the violation and bill the property owner a minimum of $350. If bill is not taken care of in 30 days the City of Iowa Park will place a lien on the property.
If the fine issued by municipal court is not paid, a warrant will be issued and the violator will be unable to renew their drivers license until the fine is paid.
During their workshop on Monday to discuss building regulations and code enforcement, city council members emphasized that the city is not doing this to make money, they just want the city cleaned up. They pointed out it’s not right for taxpayers to subsidize the expense for those who aren’t mowing their grass or picking up trash and junk in their yards. If property owners can’t take care of their property they can hire local people who do yard work for much less than if the city has to do it.
A major concern is the harboring of rats, snakes and mosquitoes in unkept areas. People should maintain their property so it’s not bringing down the value of their neighbor’s property.
Council also discussed building regulations, and the city staff will be studying and working on clarifying building codes and bring it back before the council at a later date.