Bad news for ‘usual suspects’

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 7, 2014

It should get easier for Andalusia’s abatement officer to round up the usual suspects.

The city council this week had the first reading of a revised ordinance that would allow the abatement officer to activate the process the city uses for abating weeds without repeated council action.

At present, Harvey Peacock has to get the council’s approval each time he moves forward with abating weed nuisances. If the proposed changes are approved, the council would only have to approval the abatement of certain properties once every 12 months.

Mayor Earl Johnson explained that the Alabama Legislature recently gave cities more authority in exercising abatement over weeds and grasses. At present, if a city begins the abatement process, it must give a property owner 14 days to clean up a lot or yard.

If the property owner does not take action, the city can have the property cleaned, and the cost is added to the owner’s ad valorem taxes. If the weeds grow up again, the process has to begin at the beginning.

But under the proposed rules, once the council approves the process, the abatement officer can cite repeat offenders when necessary within a 12-month period, and the property owner is given seven days to clean up the weeds.

Because the changes in rules have to be approved in an ordinance, the council is required to have two readings before it votes. That vote is expected at its August 19th meeting.

Meanwhile, the council abated seven properties for weeds, including:

• 807 Bradley St.

• 108 Robinson Ave.

• 503 Seeger

• 505 Seeger

• 13200 Brooklyn Rod

• 404 Pearl St.

• 605 E Three Notch St.

In other business, the council:

• Renewed its inmate housing contract with the Covington County Sheriff’s Department. There was no change in rates in the new contract.

• Agreed to renew its line of credit at CCB Community Bank.

• Waived the business license charge for the annual Gun and Knife Show.