Nip the grass problem in the root

Published 11:39 pm Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Aldermen Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis and James “Ricky” Gray like things neat and tidy.

We do, too.

Mathis and Gray are also getting a little frustrated.

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We are, too.

The two aldermen, representing Wards 1 and 2, have recently expressed frustration with the city’s system for handling overgrown property.

The system seems relatively simple. The city contacts the property owner, warning them to clean up their acts or else the city will do it for them and send the property owners the bill.

Unfortunately, that system is taking months and months to get anything moving. And in the case of some properties, neighbors have been living with overgrown junk next door for more than four months.

The problem, Public Works Director Eric Smith says, is a lack of manpower.

Smith is probably correct.

But the solution isn’t to hire more city staffers, but to step out of the box and get creative.

Could the city contract with private sector workers to cut the grass and then simply bill back the cost to the property owner?

Throw the matter out to bid and see if anyone bites.

The city might be out a small amount of money in the short run, but in the long run the health, welfare and quality of life of its residents would be protected immediately.

This is one problem that should be nipped at the root — and soon.