City cleanup will continue

    While hearing a complaint from a citizen about one phase of Decatur's Operation Cleanup, Mayor John Schultz strongly vowed at Tuesday night's city council meeting that the program will continue.
    Dennis Huffman of Decatur lodged the complaint, apparently after a vehicle he owns was "tagged" by the city. Huffman said his vehicle was operable and should not have received the tag, and that the crew in charge of the cleanup was tagging vehicles in business lots.
    "If they're not operable (or not licensed), then, yes, we'll tag them," Schultz said. "We do what we think is right."
    He said some vehicles have been sitting on certain sites "for maybe 20 years" and pointed out that the city is operating under its own ordinance, not federal or state law.
    Under the ordinance, if a vehicle is tagged for not having a license plate and/or being inoperable, the owner has 30 days to rectify the situation. "And we've been very lenient" on the 30 days, the mayor said.
    As Huffman continued to complain, however, Schultz said, "And I'll tell you this: the next step is coming: fines. We are doing what we think is right."
    He said Huffman was welcome to come to his office in City Hall and discuss the situation, but about that time Huffman abruptly walked out of the meeting.