One member of the Pauls Valley Beautification Commission believes the only way the town can get cleaned up in a more timely and efficient way is for all of PV to make it a priority.
Connie Upton says that’s the only way the dilapidated houses and properties not being maintained up to city ordinances can be dealt with the right way.
“I want to see progress and it’s not really happening fast enough for me,” Upton said during a talk at last week's PV Rotary Club meeting.
“As a community we’ve got to put our money into cleaning up Pauls Valley. I want to be proud of this community. I want us to do better. I want Pauls Valley to look better.
“It’s not a priority right now and it needs to be. We have to stop making excuses and start holding people accountable.”
Adding to Upton’s frustration is many of the changes to local ordinances, all meant to improve the clean up process, were approved last year but are just not being enforced, she said.
The process works this way – to report a property in town is not being properly maintained call city hall, code enforcement or one of the beautification commission members.
The property is then placed on the commission’s agenda as the group meets monthly to discuss whether or not a property is violating ordinances.
Then two rounds of letters are sent out to inform property owners and residents the site is in violation of local beautification ordinances on the books.
“We got a lot of landlords and they get the exact same letter as the tenants. Ninety nine percent of the time we don’t hear anything from the property owners.”
Upton said from there the property is declared a nuisance and turned over to the city.
“Right now we’re concentrating on demolishing houses that are barely standing and are junk,” Upton said.
“To give you an idea of what we’re facing, 96 properties are in violation of city ordinances just on the east side of the (railroad) tracks. These properties have not even been considered by the committee.”
In contrast, Upton says a total of only four properties have gone through the process and been cleaned up over the last couple of years.
“We’re not trying to punish people who can’t do this themselves,” she said. “We want to encourage more of these property owners to come to the meetings. We need more communication from the public. We don’t have enough people coming to the meetings and telling us more about what they’re facing.
“These are long-standing problems. A lot of these properties are habitual offenders. We just need it to be a priority.
“Our task is monumental. Part of the problem is we as a committee don’t have a budget that we can manage.
“I would like to see a push from the citizens to help us get a budget and for this to be a priority for this city. Help us clean up Pauls Valley.”
A related event is a community-wide clean up day in Pauls Valley, called Pockets of Progress, is expected come in May.