The effort labeled "Operation Cleanup" is well under way in Decatur and the process of identifying what might be called "problem vehicles" is approximately half over, city council was informed at its meeting Tuesday night.
Bill Karbach, a Board of Works and Safety member who is heading up the effort, began last week the process of identifying old, unused vehicles; rubbish in yards; and dilapidated buildings.
"It's been interesting," Karbach said, drawing some laughter in council chambers.
"Yeh, but for every person upset, three others (neighbors) are happy," Mayor John Schultz chimed in.
A total of 58 vehicles have been "tagged," Karbach said, which means the owner has 72 hours to remove the vehicle. In addition, the same list includes 13 trailers, 10 campers and seven boats.
Karbach explained that even if the vehicle in question — including the trailers, campers and boats — have current license plates, "they have to be operable" or they will be tagged. If, for instance, a vehicle has no wheels, it is considered inoperable.
He said the city "wants to work with the people" to effect the cleanup, geared toward the city's 175th birthday celebration in August. "I really want to thank the people we've tagged; most have really cooperated," Karbach said. "And it's nice to see people cleaning up (the problems)."
It was also noted that some people will purchase the back of a truck to use as a shed. "And that's okay if they make it look like a shed," Karbach said.
As he contacts owners of vehicles and homes, Karbach is accompanied by one of two city police officers, Lennie Corral and Jim Franze. "And their cooperation has been outstanding," Karbach added.