Clean up effort goes up a notch

A group of volunteers serving to get those problem areas cleaned up around Pauls Valley are now looking for some help from the city.

Four members of the PV Beautification Commissioner came in force during a recent city council meeting to express their frustration in not seeing in any real progress in getting problem properties cleaned up.

Those members – Connie Upton, Chris Tucker, Susie Dehart and Al Jackson – agreed more needs to be done to strengthen the process and get properties cleaned up faster, either by the property owner or the city.

“Everybody on this commission is volunteering their time to do this,” Upton said.

“We don't feel we have the support of the city to get anything done. We want the ordinances to be enforced.

“We have people come to us with lists of delinquent properties and it never gets cleaned up.

“We want to be effective in helping to get our community cleaned up, but we don't feel we are right now. If more people knew what we were trying to do I think they would step up.”

Tucker agreed adding the commission's work doesn't appear to be moving forward.

“We're getting nowhere right now,” he said. “We're kind of stuck in the mud. We need something with some teeth in it.

“We're losing traction. We're frustrated but we're eager to do this. We just need some guidance.”

The way the process starts is the commission sends out letters to properties in violation of the city's beautification ordinances. Those property owners are invited to attend beautification meetings to offer more on their situation.

Typically very few show up at the meetings as next comes a second letter mailed out to those properties. From there the properties are typically declared a nuisance.

According to Upton, the process then calls for the city of PV to post a nuisance sticker typically on the front door of a property's residence.

“They're supposed to be posted, but we're not sure that most are ever done,” she said.

“There should be pink or purple stickers all over Pauls Valley showing they're in violation of city ordinances.

“It's a clear sign to our city government that something needs to be done. I think we need to do better. We've got to get our community cleaned up.”

Commission members not only want a stronger enforcement of current ordinances but also modified and easier to understand notices going out to property owners.

They also expressed an interest in the commission having a budget and more information on the costs of clean up properties and how much in fines is being paid into the city.

“We're not heartless,” Upton said. “We know there are people in dire straits. We want them to come to our meetings and let us know they need help because there are service organizations and churches out there that will help.

“At the same time we want people to be held accountable and take responsibility for cleaning up their property.”

•••

During last week's meeting City Manager James Frizell said the city of Pauls Valley has received just over $470,000 in CARES Act money for reimbursements related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It gives us room to breathe and adding some personnel and getting some things done,” he told council members.

Frizell was also in attendance during this week's beautification meeting as members spoke directly to a couple of home owners earlier notified for the need to clean up their properties.

The commission and city were even applauded by one resident offering praise for their part in getting a property damaged by fire cleaned up on the east side of town.

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