By William Holloman
The days of privately-owned property blanketed with overgrown weeds and grass, routinely maintained by the town at taxpayers’ expense, are about to be over.
Mount Olive Mayor Joe Scott and the town’s board of commissioners clearly state they are tired of it and say action is on the way that slams down the hammer. Official action is expected at the regular meeting of the town board on September 10 at 7 p.m.
Town Manager Charles Brown has already been told by board members and the mayor to tell violators the free ride is over.
Brown told the Tribune that per new local law, effective on September 10, the town will no longer mow privately-owned overgrown lots. He has already instructed letters to be sent out to property owners.
Brown told this newspaper the process has grown far too expensive and has become a burden to taxpayers of Mount Olive.
As stated in the forthcoming letter, “All Mount Olive residents have a responsibility to make sure their property is clean, safe, and free of public health hazards.
“If the grass on your property reaches and overall height of 12 inches, you will receive a written warning from the Town’s Code Enforcement Department.”
He said there will be no further notices, and if there is another violation within a 12-month period, violators will be fined $100. Continued violations will cost $200, then $500 and a lien against the property.
The letter to be sent out urges cooperation.
Mayor Joe Scott also told the Tribune the town is not in the grass-mowing business. Tax money currently covers the $60,000 annual cost of maintaining neglected private property.
“This is money the Town cannot afford to keep spending. I have asked the town manager and code enforcement officer to contact the owners of these properties, most of them who live out of town, to step up and keep their properties mowed,” the mayor said.
Mayor Scott said it is sad the issue has come to the point of where it is today, but the town simply is not responsible for the maintenance of private property.