Citywide cleanup is planned

    Plans were unveiled at Tuesday night's Decatur City Council meeting for Operation Cleanup, a major undertaking to "clean up" the city for its 175th birthday celebration later this year.
    Mayor John Schultz said a committee comprised of Board of Works member Bill Karbach, city Planning and Zoning Superintendent Roger Gage, and City Attorney Tim Baker have been working on various aspects of the program, including targeting and implementation.
    Schultz said "there are three areas we are going to attack," with the cooperation of city police.
    Karbach listed the three, as follows:
    1. Old, unused vehicles; those that are not licensed and often have been sitting in the same place for months, maybe even years. Such vehicles will be identified, then the owners will be notified that they have 10 days to accomplish removal. If the vehicle is not removed, city police will "sticker" the vehicle, which allows for another 72 hours.
    If no action is taken, the city's nuisance ordinance will come into play.
    2. Rubbish in yards. The home owner will have 30 days to clean up the area if notified by the city. If nothing is done, formal notification of a 10-day period will follow, then the nuisance ordinance will be used if the rubbish remains.
    3. Dilapidated buildings. A safety factor was noted in this category, particularly with warm weather coming and children playing outside. The same procedure will be used as with rubbish in yards.
    "We're not trying to create hardship for anyone and we will work with people," Baker said.
    Gage suggested that in the case of someone with a health problem, maybe some neighbors could help out in getting a particular situation rectified.
    Schultz said residential areas would be first on the agenda, then the focus would shift to business and industry. "We would like our community to be clean and safe," he added.
    The mayor also praised the efforts of Sgt. Leonard Corral and Jim Franze of the Decatur Police Department, who have worked closely with the committee in developing a plan of action.
    As a final addition to the discussion, Baker presented an amendment to the nuisance ordinance which will add non-motorized vehicles (bicycles, scooters, etc.) to the city code. It was passed on two readings, then tabled until the May 3 meeting before final passage.