Opp could up ante for abated lots

Published 1:11 am Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Opp property owners beware — the city council is “fed up” with repeat abatement offenders.

At Monday night’s council meeting, the council voted to abate the overgrown property located at 314 Stanley Street, which is owned by Maritha Hines.

Council members said this wasn’t the first instance of abatement for this property.

“This is in District 2, and it has been abated several times,” Councilman Jimmy Rogers said. “We do this pretty regular, and we have for a while.”

Opp Mayor H.D. Edgar said that due to the cost of gas, the costs will go up for those whose properties are abated; however, the city did not set a specific price for the increase.

Currently, the city hires local lawn services to clean up the overgrown lots. Then, the property owner is billed for those services.

Councilman Mickey Crew asked if it is possible for the city to increase the amount paid each time for repeat offenders.

City Clerk Connie Smith said that the ordinance doesn’t specify the amount of money that can be charged per abatement and that it is at the discretion of the council. Currently, there is no penalty for repeat offenders.

This is just one step in a series of steps the council is taking to “clean up” its streets.

Earlier this month, the council agreed to enforce its ordinance that prohibits residents from “cutting grass and throwing it in the streets.”

Residents who do not adhere to the ordinance will be fined $325.

“We hope everyone heeds to our warning about throwing (the grass) out,” Edgar said. “The street sweeper is running hot and heavy and will be for a while.”

Rogers said it was good to see the street sweeper moving west in Opp.