City to up weed abatement costs

Published 2:27 am Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Violators say city fees have been cheaper route

Absentee property owners who have relied upon city abatements as a yard service of sorts can expect to pay more for that service in the future.

On Tuesday, the Andalusia City Council held the first reading for an ordinance that sets the minimum administrative cost for abatements at $150. An ordinance requires two readings before it can be passed.

The proposed ordinance states that administrative costs may be assessed at a higher rate, and if the city contracts for abatement, the actual cost charged by the contractor for the abatement would be considered the administrative cost.

Mayor Earl Johnson said the city has continual problems with property owners who live outside the city and don’t maintain their property. The city, in turn, continually abates their property for unsightly weeds and/or debris.

“They have turned our abatement program into their yard maintenance,” Johnson said. “Some of them have said they can get it done by us cheaper than contracting with someone.”

If the city abates property for unsightly weeds, and the property owner does not respond, the city has the property cleaned up, and bills the property owner. If the resulting charges are not immediately paid, they are attached to the owner’s property taxes.

The council is expected to vote on the proposed ordinance at its next meeting.

In other business, the council:

• Reappointed Virginia Brawner to the Board of Equalization.