Complaints call for community cleanup

Community leaders are doing their best to fight trashed yards in their neighborhoods. People say when neighbors move out, some leave their things on the property. Ledbetter is an unincorporated town, so the county governs it, but county leaders are now making cleanup their responsibility.

Neighbors say overgrown yards with weeds and trash strewn about hurt their property values. It's not uncommon to see a well-kept yard next to an overgrown one in the Riverview subdivision. It's because of these juxtaposed yards and properties that neighbors say it's time for a permanent cleanup.

Robert Brown says he raised his children in this neighborhood and wants to see it thrive. While he's careful to tend to his garden, Brown says care is exactly what some houses in his neighborhood are lacking.

"When they move they just leave everything. I guess its more desirable to leave it all then take it with them." says Brown.

Livingston County Magistrate Terry Stringer says he's seen this problem for years. He says some of the property owners were notified a long time ago, but county leaders haven't recently pushed the issue. It's easy to see the trash and weeds that need to be cleared out, and Stringer says it's to a point where the properties need to be preserved, as well as the community.

"We have lost good people in the past, and I don't want that to happen," Stringer says. "I want to do what I can to keep our good people here."

Stringer says he's filed about 14 complaints with the county. While the majority of the homes are on vacant properties, people still live in some others.

Stringer says when the county issues an owner a complaint, they have a period of time to clean up the property or appear before a judge. He says sometimes it's a struggle to find the owner, but if the foreclosed properties are owned by banks they're generally good about cleaning up.

Stringer says cleaning up the properties will not happen quickly, but he'll continue filing complaints with the courts.

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