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City wants mow money

If your grass is getting too long, you could be paying more to have New Richmond employees mow.

In the past, the City has had difficulty with their nuisance yard ordinances that require homeowners to keep their lawns mowed.

According to Joe Bjelland, City clerk, his office sends out a notice to property owners who don't keep the grass cut.

But because of the current foreclosure crisis and numerous absent owners of homes, more and more properties are leaving their lawns unattended.

City crew members are sent to mow the yards, and the property owners are billed the cost.

"But it's getting to be too much," Bjelland told the City Council at its meeting June 25. "Our staff doesn't have time to mow these. We're not keeping up."

The problem, Bjelland said, is the City's fee for mowing isn't high enough to cause property owners to act.

He suggested the City increase its mowing fees to a $100 per hour, with a minimum of $100 charged.

"I've been getting calls from developers who say it's easier to have the City mow it," Bjelland said. "They're using the City as their lawn service."

The problem is magnified because many local lawn services can't take any more clients at the current time.

The Council voted in favor of the fee hike. Any fees not paid within 30 days will be added to the property owner's tax bill.

"I think when they see the $100 per hour charge, they'll sharpen up," Mayor David Schnitzler said.