The City of Brazil is enforcing local ordinances in an effort to make the city look better, but officials understand there are residents who might need a helping hand with complying.
While enforcing beautification ordinances and ordinances that require homes have proper 911 identification, Brazil City Reserve Police Officer Eric Vanatti has come across some residents unable to comply with the codes.
"We want to organize a group of volunteers to help those people who might be unable to do what it takes to clean up their yard, remove trash or abandoned vehicles and make any repairs necessary to comply," Vanatti said. "They might be an elderly person, someone with a disability or be person in a circumstance in which they need a little help."
Church, youth and service group members or people interested in participating are asked to contact City Hall about organizing work groups or donating cleaning supplies to help those in need.
Although ordinance enforcement has been lax in the past, Mayor Ann Bradshaw wants to beautify the city to make it more appealing to people who are considering moving to Brazil and businesses willing to invest in the area.
"These ordinances are on the books and need to be enforced," Bradshaw said. "Eric has really jumped into this program with both feet and I really appreciate all his efforts to help make the city a better place."
Planning Administrator Michele Altman is also grateful for Vanatti's help.
"We are just getting started. This is a big job and I appreciate the help," Altman said. "No one wants to place a hardship on an individual, but often the individual doesn't realize the hardship they are placing on their community by being in violation of the ordinances."
Bradshaw, Vanatti and Altman worked together to create a checklist to ensure the ordinance violation warnings and any subsequent violations are handled properly.
If a property is deemed in violation, Vanatti will take pictures and leave a warning for the homeowner allowing them seven days to comply before fines are assessed at $100 per day.
A certified letter informing the resident of the warning is sent to the name and address on record at the County Auditor's office informing them of the warning, then a follow-up letter is sent through regular mail.
"If a person needs an extension to comply, we are willing to work with anyone," Bradshaw said.
If the resident takes no action, another set of pictures is taken, a ticket of violation is left at the residence and another letter advising details of the citation and applied fees is mailed.
Violations are then taken to the Board of Works for review, after which the street department can be sent to the home to clean up the violation at a cost deferred to the resident.
Bradshaw said once the fines are paid they will become part of the City's General Fund, and then dispersed to the police department's reserve program.
"We plan on using the money to help create a fully functioning reserve program," Vanatti said.
To learn more about the program or voice a complaint, Mayor Bradshaw is available during office hours at 443-2221 or people can contact Eric Vanatti at 446-0050 or by e-mail at email@example.com.