Brazil City workers had to clean up the yard of Don and Karen Sutherlin at 912 N. Ashley St. Jan. 13. The Sutherlins had three notices to clean up their property from Michele Driscoll, the Brazil City Planning and Zoning Administrator.
"They had an excessive amount of trash," Driscoll said. "They violated City Ordinance number 93 which pertains to trash and rubbish. It's a code violation that you're supposed to keep your place clean and presentable. It not only detracts from the appearance of the neighborhood but also promotes unsanitary conditions."
A notice from the Planning and Zoning Department was mailed to the Sutherlins in September by parcel post. A second notice was sent by certified mail in October. After no response came from the Sutherlins, a third notice to clean up their property was hand delivered by a Brazil City Police officer in November.
On Jan. 13, four city workers worked five hours each, for a total of 20 man-hours, cleaning up the trash. Two pick-up trucks were used taking out four loads of trash. A garbage truck hauled out four tons of trash. City workers also had to use a backhoe.
The certified letter cost $4.22. Landfill charges are $22.50 per ton. City workers were paid an hourly wage for their 20 hours of work. The total cost of the clean up was $496.20.
Driscoll said the Sutherlins will be billed for that amount. They have since separated. Each will be responsible for half of the bill. If they do not pay in 90 days, a lien will be placed against their home for the clean up cost plus filing fees. They could also receive an additional $500 fine.
Karen Sutherlin was at home on the day of the clean up and was asked if she wanted to comment.
"I've been sick," she said from her doorway. "My husband dealt with the zoning people. We're separated now. I don't know what they discussed.
"Our son's been taking the porch off, but he has his own home and works. So he doesn't have a lot of time to help. I'm moving soon."
Driscoll said the city's Planning and Zoning Department will continue to take steps necessary to clean up or condemn any properties in Brazil that violate city codes and are considered a safety and health hazard to the citizens.