As banks foreclose on more and more homes, the city of Reynoldsburg must mow an increasing number of abandoned properties.
To recover the thousands of dollars spent on cutting grass in 2008, the city must submit billing documentation to the county auditor’s office by Sept. 14, Safety/Service Director Pam Boratyn said.
"It’s an annual ritual," Councilman Ron Stake said at the July 6 council meeting. "Unfortunately there are more that need cut."
In January, the Franklin and Licking counties will bill the properties by assessing their taxes.
Reynoldsburg charges a $75 administrative fee in addition to the direct mowing costs.
The city mowed 194 times last year. Two-thirds of the cuts were at vacant homes held by banks and many needed mowed more than once. The city cut the grass at one property five times, Boratyn said.
More than $12,000 will be assessed to the property taxes of lots within Franklin County, and more than $9,000 will be assessed to the property taxes of Licking County properties.
The city did not need to mow any of its Fairfield County properties.
Reynoldsburg already has collected more than $3,000 from property owners who voluntarily paid their bills.
Boratyn warns that home buyers should contact the auditor to ask about potential liens before closing on a property because the lawn mowing assessment will not appear on the paperwork until January.
In other business, Reynoldsburg’s 13-month contract with Rumpke will expire at the end of the year.
Rumpke was the only contractor to submit a comprehensive bid that encompassed trash, recycling and yard waste.
The base price for Rumpke’s service is $15.89 per month and seniors would receive a $1.50 discount.
Currently, the base cost is $15.80, but the city pays administrative fees and a portion of the base cost with its Solid Waste Fund, therefore residents only pay $15.04 per month, Boratyn said.
"At this time, we are looking at various options to determine rates for service while continuing to utilize funds from the Solid Waste Fund to help absorb some of the costs of rate increases for our residents," Boratyn said.