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06-01-05 Mendon officials on the prowl for junk

By Timothy Cox
tcox@dailystandard.com

  MENDON -- Another crackdown on junk cars is being planned by village officials.

  In what is becoming an annual rite of spring in the village, a number of unlicensed or inoperable cars are parked on properties throughout town and at least one vehicle that violates the town's junk car ordinance is parked on a village street.
  Mayor William Buffenbarger and council member Janice Clay plan to drive the town looking for violations. Residents with cars that violate the ordinance will be given 10 days to have the offending vehicles moved or be cited into court.
  Council member Roy "Butch" Davis called the operation "spring sweeps."
  Council member Janice Clay expressed frustration that the issue keeps cropping up annually. In recent years, village officials have filed misdemeanor charges against scores of people for having junk vehicles on their property.    "I feel like we're beating our heads on the wall," Clay said.
  She urged council members to remain diligent and continue attacking the problem. Some residents skirt the junk car issue by only complying with part of the ordinance, she said. The ordinance calls for cars to be "licensed and operable." Some people are getting away with putting new license plates on cars that don't run, she said.
  Buffenbarger said he would like to explore ways to allow the town to tow offending cars away and impound them.
  Solicitor Judy Koesters said there are issues to consider before having cars towed. First and foremost, the town would be responsible for the towing and storage bill and would have to find a way to recoup those costs, she said.
  In other business Tuesday, council members:
   Passed first reading of an ordinance that changes the town's existing junk ordinance so that property owners and tenants are equally responsible for keeping properties clean. The updated ordinance also gives the mayor the authority to issue citations.
   Learned the Lion's Club and civic association plan to donate $1,000 toward the cost of a new drinking fountain for the village park.
   Agreed to get a credit card with a $500 limit so utilities superintendent Bill Snider can purchase computer software upgrades online when necessary.

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