City concentrating on cleanup of 'nuisance properties'

 


The City of Kimball recently sent out several letters asking residents to remove abandoned and junk vehicles from their property.

Along the same lines, the city is concentrating next on nuisance properties or those properties with excess garbage and refuse or an overgrowth of grass and weeds. The city ordinance states the growth must be over 12 inches tall to be considered and overgrowth.

“Our police department is the one that is enforcing most of these,” City Administrator Daniel Ortiz said.

City officials or local police officers are usually the reporting parties when it comes to nuisance properties, but complaint forms are available for residents who wish to report a problem.

“It could be our crews out there working and they then notify us,” Ortiz said.

“(Police Chief) Darren (Huff) has been doing a fantastic job,” Mayor Keith Prunty said, “and he has been doing a great job dealing with people on a one-on-one basis, talking to them and people have been abiding.”

When weeds and grass become an issue, and if the property owner does not respond, city crews will mow the property. The cost of the man hours will be charged to the property owner.

Further efforts to collect the cost include a property lien for the service or the bill goes to a collection agency for collection.

“Some of the nuisance properties, depending what it is, some of them require a citation, cited to our city ordinance, which then gets funneled through our court system,” Ortiz said. “If the violation is upheld, they get assessed a fine, which can be assessed on a per day basis so each new day is a new offense.”

While many citizens may remark that this is a great way for the City of Kimball to increase revenue, Ortiz said that is not the case.

“We don’t collect any of the fines. They go to the school system, I think,” Ortiz said.

In cooperation with the Aging Office of Western Nebraska, Wendy Baker directs the Kimball Handyman Project, which provides mowing, snow removal and light housekeeping to citizens of Kimball County who are 60 years old or older. This service is available to help citizens who need it.

Contributions for that service are based on self-declared income and more information can be found at the city offices.

City employee Jim Shoup is in charge of issuing the abatement letters, according to Prunty, but he will provide anyone with the handyman information.

Though the city is granting extensions as needed, citizens are urged to continue efforts to tend their properties. Ortiz said that extensions will not continue indefinitely.

“Have a little more respect even just for your neighbors,” Prunty urged.

“It’s a health issue with insects and rodents and really its a quality of life issue as well,” Ortiz said. “Its a matter of how we want to present our community, not only to our own citizens, but also to visitors ad guests that come into our community.”


 

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