Council members push to crack down on junk cars, other violations

Columbus City Council members would like to see the city crackdown even further on junk automobiles.

The city updated the junk car ordinance last year but several council members are saying they believe it needs to be tougher.

Councilman Dascal Bunch said that the city has had long enough to evaluate what isn’t working with the new ordinance and one of those is the amount it takes to work through the removal process.

“It has been around long enough to see what the glitches are,” Bunch said. “It is the amount of time… to address the issue. 30 days is a long time. Most people will put a tire or rims on the car, push it around the corner but it is the same vehicle.”

Bunch would like to see Columbus adopt deadlines similar to other nearby communities.

“We have got it narrowed down to a timely fashion where people know we are serious,” Bunch said. “Franklin has a five day and they will hook them and take them right off the property. That is the way their ordinance is written. Bloomington is very similar. Bloomington gives them 15 days, but they start fining them.”

Council members Tom Dell and Elaine Wagner agreed that the process has to be sped up and city employees need the tools to do their jobs.

The council members said a committee is looking into all the city’s ordinances that need updated, some of which haven’t been touched in more than 30 years. The council members said the ordinance committee has yet to meet this year.

Wagner said this goes beyond just cars and should include other areas, especially of code enforcement.

“We have had conversations before about all of the different ordinances in town which are outdated,” Wagner said. “It is more than just cars. It is housing. It is HOAsĀ (Home Owner Associations). It is all kinds of things that we are definitely planning to take a look at.”

Dell and Bunch said that the city might have to look at adding more employees to pick up the pace enforcing local codes.

“Without cleaning up the ordinances and making them more efficient and more practical, I guess you would say, we have to make sure they are enforceable,” Dell said. “We, as a group, have to put together the funding to make sure that gets accomplished. Otherwise we will put ordinances on the book that we really can’t enforce because we are not willing to back it up with putting the enforcement people into place to get that done.”