By MARGIE TRAX PAGE

Staff Writer

mtrax@starbeacon.com



GENEVA-ON-THE-LAKE -- A pile of trash at the curb of each village property could save residents hundreds of dollars in fines, towing and hauling, Village Police Chief Tim Bruckman said.

Village police are handing out property cleanup letters during the week before spring cleanup day, hoping property owners will take advantage of the free trash collection.

"We try to get as many (letters) out there before cleanup day, so there are no excuses," he said.

Spring cleanup for Gene-va-on-the-Lake village is scheduled for April 28.

So far, the police department has issued 39 letters to property owners, asking them to remove junk cars, weeds, tires and litter from yards, Bruckman said.

"There has been a lot of talk about the enforcement of the junk-car and gar-bage ordinance. We have a process and work daily on this ongoing problem," Bruckman said.

"This is an ongoing pro-cess. (The police) are working day in and day out, week after week (on junk cleanup enforcement)," Councilman Steve Cervas said.

At least two properties are checked by police per shift, usually starting with those properties reported to police by citizens or council members.

"That's at least four to six properties checked per day," Bruckman said.

Once a property is deemed a problem, a letter is sent to the property owner, who is given 10 days to clean up any gar-bage or junk cars. The police follow up with the property owner after 10 days, Bruckman said.

"We try to work with people. If someone needs more time, we work with them. We don't mind giving a little as long as we see some effort," he said.

If junk, garbage and disabled vehicles aren't re-moved from the property or another complaint is received, the owner is cited. If the property own-er pleads guilty in Mayor's Court, he or she can be fined up to $100. If they plead not guilty, the case is taken to Western County Court, Bruckman said.

"We don't get a lot of (resistance) from property owners. A lot of people are willing to comply. A lot of people aren't aware that their property is a problem," Bruckman said.

Spring cleanup for Gene-va-on-the-Lake is April 28. All trash pickup customers are encouraged to leave their discards at the curb by 5 a.m. Lawn furniture, mattresses and sofas will be picked up. Items weighing more than 100 pounds cannot be picked up, un-for-tunately.

Mayor Meredith Rhodes encourages citizens to put their trash at the curb as close to April 28 as possible, as placing it outside early may encourage people or animals to rummage through the piles.

Problem properties can be reported to the Village Po-lice Department (440 466-8197).

Tires will be collected at the Ashtabula County Fair-grounds in Jefferson April 29 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Each county resident can bring 10 tires. The first four are collected free of charge. The next six cost $1 per tire to discard. No rims are accepted, and muddy tires may cost extra.

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