Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I want to cut the grass for the county ($259 per house)

In the PWC BOCS meeting yesterday, they discussed the county program for cutting grass.:

Tall grass and weeds are a violation of the County Code. Neighborhood Services is tasked with investigating citizens' complaints of tall grass and weeds.
Any citizen may file a complaint for a weed case violation by calling Neighborhood Services at 703-792-7018. When the weed complaint is received, Property Code Enforcement Inspectors must visit the property, determine its zoning requirements and measure the height of grass and weeds. If the property is found to be in violation of the Code, Neighborhood Services must give notice of the violation to the owner by regular mail and allow two weeks for compliance. If the property is still in violation after re-inspection, the County will authorize mowing to be done at the owner’s expense.

The web site says that the price is severe:

The fee for mowing is substantially more than what the neighborhood mowers would charge. Fees are more than $150 for a town home to $600 for larger properties.

At the meeting, they said that in the previous year, they had about 600 homes under observation, and they cut about 150. This year they think they might cut houses up to 8100 times, although they seemed to say the more likely number is 1500 houses cut three times.

They said the price per house was about $259. I would be happy to cut, with the permission of the county, every home in my neighborhood, for only $100 each. To their credit, many supervisors questioned why it cost so much, and the county didn't have a good answer. I hope they can get a better price this year.

Maureen Caddigan said she had someone to cut her grass every week. Must be nice to be able to afford a grass cutting service. Of course, she voted to raise her salary this year even though we have to cut many services, so she should have the money.

Then she had the nerve to say that the county would save money "if Homeowners associations would do their job".

Realise that many HOAs (mine is one) do not have the power to cut people's yards. We are working on it. But it's really not the HOAs job to cut the yards, it's the people who own the yards. I'm sure that if we do this, we will get our neighborhood lawn service to cut the yards for significantly less than $259.

Now, they are saying that, with so many more houses, there would be a chance to lower the cost. But apparently last year nobody thought twice about wasting over 250 dollars of our money for each cut.

Now, there is a caveat. The charge is attached to the house as a lien, so eventually the county gets the money back. That means that the county has little reason to try to get a better price. It's like free money for everybody, at the expense of the person who didn't cut their grass.

And since they didn't cut their grass, and it's really annoying, it's hard to feel sorry for them.

We have about 6 homes in our neighborhood which seem abandoned or for other reason aren't cutting their lawns. It's annoying, there are actually woodland creatures living in some of the properties, and not the nice kind. I'm glad the county has a program.

However, it appears that the county will NOT be able to keep up with this program this year, because of the large number of forclosures (it probably won't help that we kicked out so many of the people who would cut grass cheaply :-) )


Citizen Tom said...

Interesting post, but it left me a little confused. Who did WE kick out of their homes?

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