Citing the recent methamphetamine-related arrest April 22 as a tipping point, Garry McNeil approached the council with concerns about homes south of Hendrix Street and east of State Road 59.
"I'm new to this, but I am upset and (the council) will see me a lot more often," McNeil told the council. "I'm concerned about the number of empty homes in the city, the number of lots with high grass and animals running loose around town."
McNeil told the council he conducted an informal survey of the homes in his immediate area, and while he found there were nine homeowners, there were eight empty homes and three additional empty lots.
"These are problems that are not just limited to Brazil, but they are happening in areas like Terre Haute and Indianapolis as well," he said. "Maybe we need to come up with some new ideas for solutions, especially for what to do about all the empty houses."
McNeil added he had called City Hall numerous times, but had never received a response.
City Planning Administrator Stacy Gibbens said when she receives a message regarding a blighted property or high grass, she typically goes straight to work on attempting to correct the issue.
"According to city ordinances, grass must be 8-inches high before we can send a letter to the property owner, and even on properties in which the city cuts the grass, we can only do it once a month," she said. "We put a lien on the properties we cut, but even the people who buy one during tax sales don't always take care of them."
Resident Tim Paullus said Mayor Ann Bradshaw has responded to all his complaint calls, but was curious about another issue which has been up in the air for more than a decade.
"I was told about 15 years ago that an engineer was working on a storm sewer project near the intersection of SR 59 and South Pine Street," Paullus said. "Every time it rains, water flows up into the yards, and to this point nothing has been done about it."
Bradshaw collected contact information from Paullus and told him she would be sending out workers to the area Thursday to discuss the situation with him further.
Paullus also brought up concerns about the number of stray animals in the city, along with inquiring if there are occupancy limits.
"We have had a stabbing in the area, and I am concerned about two-room houses that have six to nine people living in them," he said.
City Attorney Bob Pell said he was unsure if there is an ordinance on the books in reference to maximum occupancy, but added there may also be a question of the legality of having such an ordinance.
While at the meeting to inform the council of concerns, McNeil said he didn't want to be completely negative.
"The Street Department does a really good job," he said. "But we need to come up with new solutions because industry doesn't want to come to a city that is blighted like Brazil, even though these problems are not just happening here."
The next meeting of the Common Council of the City of Brazil is 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 9, in the Council Chambers at City Hall.