The Madison City Commission heard on Monday the first reading of an ordinance that outlined the penalties for having an overgrown lawn within city limits.
City Attorney David Jencks told the commissioners that he wanted to provide an ordinance that clearly described the criminal and legal sanctions to property owners. The city typically notifies landowners when their grass reaches a 6-inch limit for grass height.
Heath VonEye, municipal public works director, explained to the commissioners that his workers had mowed several lawns so far this summer and the property owners were billed from $170-$200 for the work. The billing amounts varied due to the different amounts of time the workers needed to cut the grass.
The city commissioners agreed that the ordinance should set the civil penalty for the city mowing private lawns at $200 per hour per mowing with a minimum one-hour charge. They also agreed that the criminal penalty should amount to $25 per violation per day for a city-issued citation.
The city officials can issue either the civil or criminal penalties or combine both.
The commissioners will hold a second reading on the ordinance on Aug. 16.