If the grass is growing, the city is watching.

If the grass is growing, the city is watching.

Safety service director Pam Boratyn said last week code officers have started watching for overgrown lawns in Reynoldsburg. Anyone whose grass is higher than six inches can be cited, she said.

"We want to remind people that we're coming into the season where we get a lot of complaints about high grass and weeds ... if it's more than six inches ... we can cite the person," Boratyn said.

Code officers will first issue a notice giving the property owner seven days to cut the grass. If that doesn't happen, the city will do the mowing and will send the owner a bill or issue a tax lien on the property.

And the price can add up, both for individual property owners and the city.

Boratyn said the average cost for the city to cut someone's grass is $50 per parcel, plus a $75 administrative fee.

"It can go as high as $250, depending on how big the parcel is and what has to be done," she said. "An average normal lot is between a half-acre to and an acre."

Mowing season begins in March or April and ends in September or October, she said. The city continues to attempt collecting money for bills issued throughout the winter.

In 2007, Reynoldsburg spent $7,487 to cut grass 120 times on properties with violations. In 2008, the city spent $13,800 cutting grass 200 times, Boratyn said.

"In those two years, we were contracting out for a mowing service and that was what we paid to the mowing service," she said. "In addition to that, we charged a $75 administrative fee for each time. Then every year, we send those unpaid charges to the county auditor."

Boratyn said she does not have all the numbers totaled yet for 2009, but she said Reynoldsburg spent somewhere around $5,000 cutting grass on properties more than 200 times, not including the administrative fee.

In an attempt to save money last year, the city decided to hire an individual, not a service, to cut grass, but after that person left toward the end of the cutting season, a mowing service was hired to finish out the season, she said.

"It's not the city's job to mow grass for people, but we have to take some kind of action for the betterment of everybody and try to collect back from them," Boratyn said. "You want people to cut their own grass and quite honestly, usually if it is an occupied property, if you cut it once for them, we don't have to do it again; they will do it. But it's the properties that are vacant that we repeatedly cut."

Over time, she said the city does eventually recoup the money it spends, either from people coming in to pay or from the county after tax money has been collected.

"I really want to get the word out to remind people the city would really appreciate it to take care of your property, because your neighbors care and we get a lot of complaints," she said.

On average, she said, the city receives about a dozen complaints per week during the grass-cutting season.

She said a property with overgrown grass or weeds can be reported by calling Reynoldsburg's code enforcement office at (614) 322-6802 or by going online to the city's Web site at www.ci.reynoldsburg.oh.us