How would you like the Riverdale DPW to maintain your property free of charge? Well apparently some Riverdale residents have already signed up and are enjoying their savings. Wanna know how it works?
Most of you probably know what a borough ordinance is but for those unfamiliar with the term, an ordinance is: a law, statute, or regulation, enacted by a Municipal Corporation (City, Town, Borough, Village, etc). Most of the Ordinances in Riverdale serve an obvious purpose and, of course, there are a few that get little attention. The most common address zoning, public safety, health, morality and general welfare. These include certain obligations of residents and business owners, such as removal of snow from sidewalks, cleaning up after their pets (poop scooping), and lowering noise levels during certain hours.
Typically, when an infraction is identified, a notice is served and the violator is given an opportunity to rectify the situation. If it goes unresolved then the borough has the obligation to take action against the offender. This includes reimbursement of costs incurred, fines, and in extreme cases, jail time. In towns like Riverdale, most of us obey the ordinances and when an infraction is pointed out to us, we are quick to resolve it. Unfortunately there are a few residents that feel and act differently, and if the borough and its officials don’t enforce these ordinances, resolution comes at a $$$ HIGH $$$ price for the rest of us.
At the January 7th council meeting, it was identified that a select few residents were in violation of borough ordinances when they allowed their shrubbery to grow off their property and into the street causing an obstruction. There is not one but three ordinances in Riverdale that address this problem.
Part II General Legislation – Code 78-1 through 78-4 Brush, Grass, Weeds
Part II General Legislation – Code 130-10 through 130-15 Property Maintenance
Part II General Legislation – Code 147-1 Streets and Sidewalks
A few bushes growing into the street may not seem like a big deal, but it’s how borough officials handled it that becomes VERY concerning. Instead of following procedure, DPW workers were dispatched to prune the rogue shrubs at the expense of the taxpayer. Even more upsetting, one of those residents is a mayor-appointed member of the Riverdale Planning Board; Ironically this person is responsible for knowing and understanding the borough ordinances and should understand full well his legal obligations as a resident.
According to the Mayor’s newsletter, the DPW was under staffed at the time this work was being done and its limited resources were redirected away from their core responsibilities. So I asked the Mayor and Council why our tax dollars were paying for residential landscaping and the Mayor responded “We don’t want the branches to scratch the DPW trucks when they plow.” HUH?
Well, I agree that we should not risk having our borough vehicles damaged by these nuisances, but should the cost of removal come out of your pocket or mine? Most residents maintain their property themselves while others hire landscapers, so WHY should a SELECT few residents receive special services at no cost to them, but at a cost to everyone else?
So far these questions have not been answered by those that govern our town and they have expressed little interest in preventing it from happening again. Even more disturbing is the Mayor acknowledged that he was aware of the improper use of our DWP and that number of unidentified homes received FREE PROPERTY MAINTENANCE in addition to the Planning Board Member.
Eye on Riverdale would like to know if you have received a ticket, violation, summons, or warning, due to a violation of a borough ordinance. This may help us to understand whether the borough is simply not enforcing our ordinances (BAD) or if they are selectively enforcing them (WORSE).
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. All responses will be kept confidential.