Turkey officials have shown much needed progress, albeit it small, with regards to the town’s mounting trash issue, and that’s a good thing which will benefit the town, its residents and those, quite frankly, making the decisions there.
That’s a big difference from a month ago when officials appeared to be paying little more than lip service to residents’ complaints that Turkey was little more than a trash dump thanks to residents and property owners who simply refused to provide decent upkeep to their surroundings and leaders who have been unwilling to force them into doing so.
This week, town officials appear to have done an about-face, seeking enforcement avenues that will add teeth to any cleanup efforts.
Those teeth will come via an ordinance revamp that would closely mirror ones used in other smaller municipalities like Salemburg and Roseboro, which take pride in the cleanliness of their communities.
At a meeting earlier this week, code enforcement officer Lyle Moore discussed changing the ordinance with Turkey town board members, citing the city of Clinton’s as a shining example of how to get a handle on unkempt property.
In Clinton’s ordinance, Section 11-10, it states: “It shall be unlawful to maintain property, vacant or otherwise, upon which there is an uncontrolled growth of noxious weeds, grasses or bushes … causing or threatening to cause infestation of rats, mice, snakes or vermin of any kind or constituting a fire hazard …”
Another portion of the ordinance addresses rubbish, waste, stagnant ponds and fallen trees that might cause infestation or a fire hazard.
Both are problems that have existed in Turkey for quite some time, and both are problems residents have appealed to town board members to clean up.
While board members have issued warnings to residents and property owners, little has been done to enforce them, therefore little has been done to eradicate the mess.
If Turkey officials will adopt an ordinance like Clinton’s and then enforce it to the letter, positive change will come and the blight will quickly melt away.
While it would be nice if people would take care of their property simply because it’s the right thing to do, history shows us that simply isn’t going to happen. That’s why laws are necessary and enforcement imperative.
That’s why Turkey’s town board gets a thumbs up today — they are finally taking measures to strengthen laws that will help them make a dent in a ever-increasing problem.
But studying ordinances and discussing the matter is not enough. Swift action will be the defining moment for the board, showing that they really are interested in cleaning up their town and providing residents with a community in which they can take pride.
Time will tell if town commissioners are as serious as they now appeared to be. For now, they deserve the opportunity to prove they are.