April 12, 2013
By Mary Merritt
A year ago, Mayor Elaine Horn asked a group of citizens to form a new committee to address issues of debris and weeds on private property. That committee became the Citizens for a Clean Sedalia, and I was selected as chairman of the committee. A lot of progress has been made since that first meeting last April, and changes are becoming visible.
Our first task was to learn about the current codes and procedures and to learn how other towns handle the same problems. That meant that for the first few months the committee met there was not much sign of activity, but there was a lot of studying and learning going on.
Leaving their personal agendas behind, the group focused on the task assigned with an objective of instilling a sense of pride in the community. We want to be very clear that the problems are all over town, it is not just a north, south, east or west problem. It is not our intent to be picking on any one neighborhood or area, but we do have to start somewhere.
After spending most of the summer researching the ordinances and possible solutions, the committee made a presentation on their recommendations to the City Council. In September, the council approved the recommendations and made the code changes requested. The first recommendation was to be more proactive in enforcement of the codes already on the books, with slight changes regarding grass and weed heights and defining rubbish. This required additional staff, and has been included in the new budget beginning April 1.
The committee feels like identifying the problem has been the easy part — the real work is beginning. The city’s new grapple truck has been utilized in some specific cleanups already. This new equipment has made the cleanup easier and much faster.
One of the committee’s objectives is to implement Neighborhood Clean Up projects. We propose to do a selected area each month and the first of these is scheduled for April 20. Areas selected for neighborhood projects will be notified in advance. The items to be picked up by the city must be located at the curb. The committee and city staff are aware there are people who are unable, either physically or financially, to clean up their yards and move the trash and rubbish to the curb. Knowing this, arrangements are being made for volunteers to help when we are in your neighborhood. If you need help, simply call Jamie at City Hall — 827-3000, ext. 139.
Our committee meets at 6 p.m. the second and fourth Thursdays of the month in the mayor’s conference room on the second floor of City Hall 200 South Osage. The public is always welcome to attend the meetings.
Mary Merritt is chairman of Citizens for a Clean Sedalia.