City OKs revised nuisance ordinance

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By Dave Taylor

Landmark News Service

The city of Bedford has beefed up its nuisance ordinance to address debris, abandonded buildings and other situations.

City commissioners on July 20 approved the second reading of the Revised Nuisance Ordinance, which gives city officials  authority to file liens against properties that fail to comply.

The goal is to get any nuisance situations rectified.

Property owners in violation of the ordinance will receive letters from the city detailing the problem.

“If they (the property owners) don’t fix it, the city can then go on the property and fix it or contain it, then file a lien against it,” said City Attorney Genon Hensley. “We can mow it, clean it up or maintain it, then we would have a lien against it. A property is going to change hands eventually, and if we file a lien then we’ll get paid eventually” for any work done on the property.

Under the ordinance, property owners, occupants or anyone managing land or property within city limits will be held responsible for conditions including the tracking or scattering of mud and other debris from vehicles onto city streets or adjoining properties , allowing for eyesores.

“Allowing homes and/or other buildings to deteriorate to the point that they become eyesores and attractive nuisances for others who wish to do damage to the property” is also prohibited. Deficiencies noted under this section of the document include “broken windows, portions of the building falling off or hanging precariously; broken glass, weeds and trash accumulating.”

Further, to reduce the opportunity for vandalism, the ordinances require all such property to be secured.

Mowing on state roads. Commissioner Harold Greene noted several roads around Bedford where the state has reduced the number of mowings during the summer.

“Johnson grass is out of control on the right of way, and in some places it presents a visibility problem for traffic,” he said. “The state will only mow it so many times, and they don’t spray it anymore to kill it. I want to know how we can get it taken care of.”

“The state is low on funds and they contract the mowing out now,” said Hensley. “We can mow it ourselves, but we aren’t going to get any money back from the state for it.”

Cemetery sexton. David Jennings, who had served as sexton for the previous owners of the Bedford Cemetery, signed a contract with the city June 22 to continue in that role, Hensley reported.

Hensley reported that “everything is going real well at the cemetery. We pretty much have everything in place now.”

She recommended the cemetery committee make periodic inspections of the grounds and list needed repairs or any deficiencies that need attention.

“Then, when it comes budget time we can budget accordingly,” she said. “People do take a lot of interest in the cemetery.”