During a Sedalia City Council work session Aug. 27, members of the Citizens for a Clean Sedalia Committee gave a presentation to council members over the committee’s recommendations for code enforcement concerning grass, weeds, rubbish and vehicle issues.
Members of the committee include Chairperson Mary Merritt, Vice Chairman Jim Fischer, Jack Robinson, Shirley Neff, Pete Sublett and LaVera Schmitt.
The committee was formed on April 16, and they held their first meeting on April 26.
On May 8, members of city staff, committee members, and media took a bus tour of Sedalia to visit problem areas, as well as non-problem areas to give a better view of the problems.
During he process, members of the committee visited Independence, Missouri to hear how that city has conducted its award-winning code enforcement program.
The committee has also been tasked to review building issues, and they felt that the building and outdoor issues were separate issues. The committee only dealt with the outdoor issues at this time.
“It is the consensus of the committee that with a few minor code changes, and a more pro-active code enforcement policy, the goals below can be achieved, making Sedalia a more attractive place to live.
“We understand the complexities of implementing changes to long stand ordinances and practices,” Merritt said.
The goals to develop a plan were that a plan be easily implemented, be received positively by Sedalia citizens, help instill a sense of pride in their neighborhood and city, and begin small an expand to cover the entire city and operate continuously.
Merritt gave a summary of the recommendations and they included changing the height requirements for grass and weeds.
Currently the code states that grass and weeds should not exceed 12 inches.
The recommendation is to change that policy to require grass and weeds to not exceed eight inches.
The committee also recommended that the council change the definition of rubbish, change the city ordinance to allow building materials to be picked up (not including large construction sites), develop a neighborhood clean-up plan, eliminate vehicles parked in violation of city code, implement a pick-up-on-demand program, add code enforcement personnel to better address code issues, and consider the contracting for the use of prisoners in the clean-up programs.
In reference to the height requirements for grass and weeds, the committee feels that the allotted time to abate the violation should be 15 days.
The committee would also like to see the definition of rubbish be expanded to include furniture and appliances originally manufactured for indoor use.
The committee is recommending that small trash and rubbish not go through the court system, and should be handled through code enforcement.
The committee also recommended that building materials be allowed to be picked up on normal trash routes if placed in appropriate bags and containers.
The committee also feels that the City of Sedalia consider contracting with the correctional facility in Tipton, to use prisoners to assist with the neighborhood clean-up efforts.
During the meeting, council members seemed receptive to the recommendations made by the committee.
The council made no decision Monday, but the topic will be voted upon during the September council meeting.
“We know that this isn’t going to be easy. We know it will not be accomplished overnight.
“It is the support of the council as a whole, and the members individually which will make this project a success,” Merritt said.