|Published:||Sep 19, 2013 5:24 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Sep 19, 2013 6:46 PM EDT|
PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - It's your money and the city of Punta Gorda says it will save taxpayers green, by no longer cutting grass on private property.
For more than a decade, the city has spent tens of thousands of dollars, keeping weeds and high grass in check.
But those days are over and residents who refuse to mow will now face fines.
"We're spending $70,000 a year on cutting basically other people's properties," said Punta Gorda Mayor Bill Albers.
According to the city, many Punta Gorda residents think the space between the sidewalk and the street is not their lawn.
"It is absolutely, unquestionably their property," Mayor Albers said.
The city has taken care of over-grown areas as part of it's mandatory mowing program for vacant lots, but those days are over.
"We've decided that's not going to work anymore. We are going to notify these people, it's their property and they have to maintain it," he said.
Residents in the special districts of Punta Gorda like James Merrick of Punta Gorda Isles says he's already been managing his easement areas for years.
"It keeps the weeds down and I won't wait for the city to come and mow it," he said.
He says the vacant properties can get out of hand quickly.
"They get a little tall you can see the lots next to use the grass is over a foot already," Merrick said.
City officials say homeowners who do not mow their entire lawn or their vacant lots will face fines.
"If it gets too long well send out a lawn mower, we'll send someone out to cut it and well charge them $75 and if they don't pay that we'll put a lien on the house," Albers stated.
Some residents say they're worried without the city's help, some entry ways and grassy areas could soon be in the weeds.
"They probably should just continue it being that we pay our taxes here and we try to keep our neighborhood looking really nice," said Angela Templeton of Burnt Store Meadows.
Property owners who ignore the initial fines will be turned over to code enforcement. They could face fines up to $250 a day for non-compliance.
One exception will be Aqui Esta Drive. The deep culverts make mowing in those areas a safety hazard.
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