McLouth weighs costs of cleaning up town
by Dennis Sharkey
Cleaning up the city of McLouth and getting inoperable vehicles towed away may cause more problems and money.
Police Chief Marcus Koch has completed his data gathering phase of the project that has taken months to this point. Koch gathered data from the street to the best of his ability and has taken several photos. A total of 84 vehicles meet the criteria of an inoperable vehicles. That includes vehicles that have expired registrations.
If a salvage yard business in the city that has been grandfathered in were added, the total would increase by 20 to 30 vehicles.
However, issuing a compliance letter and writing tickets is easier said than done. Koch said residents who don’t comply could overload the municipal court system and create increased costs. Furthermore, there are other issues that are beginning to surface.
“When you’re talking about 84 different vehicles, you’re talking about a lot of different people and a lot of different circumstances,” Koch said.
Councilwoman Barbara Hasemeier said she was concerned about one situation, however, City Attorney Carol Bonebrake urged the council to not involve themselves in particular cases. Koch said when the process started that everyone needed to be treated the same and fairly, and he still stands by that.
“If we’re going to do this we’ve got to go from start to finish and no exceptions,” Koch said. “But looking at the code, there may be some interpretation the council may need to consider to decide what is a violation.”
Councilman Harlan Woodring said one resident has told him that he will get his car registered even though the vehicle has not moved in years to avoid a ticket.
Koch said registering a vehicle does not shield a resident from their vehicle falling into the class of inoperable.
Mayor Keith Meador said some residents may want to get rid of a vehicle but don’t have the financial ability to do so.
Woodring suggested that the city try sending a friendly letter asking them to remedy the problem. Woodring’s idea seemed to gain consensus.
“It has to be all across the board,” Meador said. “But I think we can chit chat with these people and tell them what we’re trying to do.”
Koch said he is already seeing some compliance from the letter that was sent to all residents this past summer about cleaning up the city, including inoperable vehicles. Some vehicles have disappeared while some have been moved into garages.
“I think people are consciously making some choices,” he said.
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