Editorial: No-tolerance on yards of junk applauded

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 8, 2005

It’s time we all cleaned up our act.

The Freeborn County Board of Commissioners decided this week that it will no longer tolerate yards full of junk. Commissioners voted to allow Environmental Services Director Randy Tuchtenhagen to hire an attorney to file a civil claim and carry it through, which would require property owners to remove the items or they will be removed and the landowner will be charged for removal services.

The current method, of the environmental services office following the cases and people being sent to jail has not worked and has caused taxpayers money. The new method would be billed to the property owner only.

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If only a few landowners are fined, it would be an example for others.

Collecting junk, such as old cars, couches, refrigerators, scrap iron and other items that are unusable on one’s property is not only an eyesore, but can cause major issues for the environment. Old tires have been proven to collect rancid water and act as an ideal breeding ground for encephalitis-bearing mosquitos. And coolant systems in old refrigerators or fluids from old cars and other vehicles or appliances leak out onto the ground, posing a problem for contamination of the soil and surface water.

Sure, sometimes people have valid excuses for not cleaning up, but others have had items removed, only to replace them after a period of time.

We applaud the county board for taking steps to make sure these environmental hazards are cleaned up.

It is, after all, an investment in our own future.