If you had instant urban renewal weeds — those 6 inches of higher — that fire experts fear could trigger fires that could damage nearby structures and you did not remove them by June 1 the full weight of government would fall upon you.
The city would hire someone to abate the weeds, slap a lien against your property and then slap you with a $100 fine if it was your first offense or a $200 fine for repeat offenders who fail to abate weeds in a timely manner for two years in a row. That figure doesn’t quite cover the costs the city incurs trying to get compliance with the weed rules.
Based on the city’s own rules, the city should be issuing itself a fine for $4,400.
The city again — after issuing notices to well over 600 property owners not into compliance as of April 1 and giving them basically two months to comply before the city took matters into their own hands and also issued fines — has 22 properties that were out of compliance with their own rules as of June 1. Most still are.
The only silver lining in the last two years was the fire department took it upon itself to abate weeds at the corner of Atherton Drive and Woodward Avenue. Given that this is the site where the city plans to build a $4.5 million fire station in the coming years it would have been a tad embarrassing if a weed fire had started there especially since firefighters are the ones that issue weed citations that everyone else gets for not complying to city rules.
Last year the 22 city-owned properties did not get abated of weeds until late August or nearly five months after the date everyone else in Manteca was expected by city law to comply with weed abatement rules.
The city last summer contracted with the Great Valley Conservation Corps based out of the San Joaquin County Office of Education complex in Stockton for $57,684 to abate 22 properties and right of way areas the city owned
Staff said earlier this year they were seeking funds for the upcoming budget that goes into effect on July 1 to pay for more preventative applications of pre-emergence weed killers to reduce weed growth on the city properties. That’s all fine and good assuming the money gets budgeted and the work gets done.
But if the city really wants to follow its own rules, here’s a suggestion: The council before they approve the final budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year might want to earmark additional money to hire the conservation corps in mid-May of 2019 to abate weeds instead of waiting for funding in the following year’s budget as the city has been doing.
Of course, this could be short-sighted given one of the city’s largest property owners — the City of Manteca — apparently believes they are bullet proof when it comes to fires. Let’s hope they are right given one of the knee high weeds property the city has yet to abate is next door to the city’s $2.1 million animal shelter on Wetmore Street.