09/07/05 — Pikeville board rejects change in grass cutting ordinance

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Pikeville board rejects change in grass cutting ordinance

By Turner Walston
Published in News on September 7, 2005 1:46 PM

The Pikeville town board voted against a proposed change in the town's grass-cuttting ordinance Tuesday and decided to vote on a tougher version at its next meeting.

The proposed ordinance calls for a $50 penalty for property owners who fail to keep their grass mowed. At the next meeting, the board will consider adding another $100 civil penalty. Board members said the $50 fee alone would only cover the cost of having the town mow the grass and actually not provide a real penalty for the lax property owner.

The decision came after some debate, including comments from resident Dennis Lewis, who has refused to cut his grass because he says the town does not enforce the ordinance fairly.

But the debate was cut short when Mayor Herb Sieger provided some perspective.

Sieger said he recently returned from Louisiana, where he had helped family members suffering from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina. He compared the struggles of the people there with the problems posed by keeping Pikeville's grass mowed.

"When I see the devastation down there, and we're getting into he-said-she-said about the grass ordinance. If you'd seen what I've seen, I don't believe you'd have the courage to come in and talk tonight," Sieger said.

A second public hearing on the proposed grass-mowing ordinance will be held before the board votes again on the issue.

"I don't want to come back next month and go over this thing again," Sieger said.

In other business, the board voted to scale back garbage collection to once a week, on Mondays, to help reduce the amount of money spent on gasoline for the town's garbage trucks. The new schedule will be reviewed monthly, board members agreed, in order to keep current with fuel prices.

Sieger also gave an update on the town's sewer project. He said the town hopes to have its new sewer plant in operation by November.

In other business, town board members approved placing the veterans memorial near the entrance to Dees Memorial Park and agreed to allow a 9-and-10-year-old Babe Ruth baseball team to use its baseball fields. The team would be allowed to use the field's lights, with a review of the cost-effectiveness at the October meeting. Board members seemed pleased that the sport would return to Pikeville's fields, and commended Harrison.

"This is one thing this town is sadly missing," Sieger said.

The board also adopted the Wayne County Hazard Mitigation Resolution, a plan to identify hazards, assess programs and prioritize opportunities for relief in the wake of disasters.

"For the federal government to give you money, they need to know that you have a plan, and this is a plan for an emergency situation," said Town Administrator Lonnie Graves.

Board members also approved the use of the stage at Dees Memorial Park on Oct. 22 for Harvestfest, a gospel concert organized by David George.