Cutting Corners, Not the Grass

Fort Worth weed problems blamed on budget shortfall

By Lindsay Wilcox
|  Thursday, May 13, 2010  |  Updated 8:15 AM CDT
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Cutting Corners, Not the Grass

nbcdfw.com

Money problems forced the city of Fort Worth to cut back on its mowing schedule.

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Weeds are growing more than 4 feet tall around abandoned homes in the Hillside neighborhood of southeast Fort Worth.

Mary Blakemore, a resident in the neighborhood, said she called Fort Worth's code enforcement division numerous times months ago, asking the city to mow lawns that are in clear violation of city code, but the problem is getting worse.

"Anytime weeds engulf a house, that's serious," said Blakemore. "They don't care about this area, this neighborhood, because if you cared, you would come and do something about it."

Brandon Bennett, Fort Worth's code compliance director, said the city's $59 million budget shortfall is to blame. The mowing schedule was expanded from 21 to 45 days, strategically planned to minimize the fire danger.

"One of the reasons the grass is a little taller now is because the contractors will mow during the last two weeks of May here, and then we'll be able to re-mow before the July 4th holiday when kids will be out with fireworks," Bennett said. "Then we'll hit it again, late summer, when we typically have less rainfall."

There are currently 200 work orders out to mowing contractors, including for some properties in the Hillside neighborhood. Bennett said those lots should be mowed in the next five days.

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