Neighborhood Code Readies Upgrade To Improve Weed Control Service

By Jeff Neumeyer

August 16, 2010 Updated Aug 16, 2010 at 5:25 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Ft. Wayne Neighborhood Code Enforcement is turning to a technology upgrade to try and get unsightly weeds cut down at a faster pace.

It's a nuisance that does generate a lot of citizen complaints.

About 6,000 problem properties were cited for violations last year.

So far in 2010, around 4,400 violations have been posted, with two full months remaining before the onset of colder weather.

When city weed inspectors identify a problem, they post a sign, giving the property owner five days to mow, or the city will contract to have it done, and then bill that property owner a premium price.

Neighborhood Code has ordered new laptop computers for its six part-time weed inspectors to begin using in September.

It will allow them, in the field, to access Geographic Information System, or GIS data, to identify exact addresses on properties where violations have occurred.

It will eliminate the chore of running back and forth to the main office as much, thus speeding up the posting process.

The city more and more is dealing with banks because foreclosures are up.

Cindy Joyner/Neighborhood Code Enforcement: " If there is a bank that's showing up as a property owner through the county, we're putting them on notice, and sometimes that's the first that they know that they actually own a particular property. They've gotten it back, because there are so many foreclosures across the country, the volume that they've had to deal with."

A representative from Star Financial Bank tells Indiana’s NewsCenter, their housing maintenance expenses are up close to 20 percent over 2007, before the recession took hold.

If someone sees a problem property, they are urged to call 311, or go to the city's web site and file a complaint on line.

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