Municipal staff keeping the weeds down in León. Municipal staff keeping the weeds down in León.

Municipal officials eye weed-choked lots

A proposal would see staff clean up the weeds with the cost added to owner's tax bill

Privately owned, empty lots choked with weeds are the focus of officials in León, Guanajuato, who are proposing that municipal staff clean up the lots at the property owners’ expense.

The municipality’s head of environmental management said the idea has surfaced during this year’s rainy season, which has encouraged the strong growth of weeds in both parks and on empty lots.

Property owners would be asked first to clear the weeds, said Ricardo de la Parra, failing which staff would go in and do it — and bill them for it. Clean-up would only be carried out on lots that are not fenced.

The cost of sending in personnel and machinery would be tacked on to the owner’s tax bill, de la Parra explained.

But there are no guarantees that the money will be collected.

The municipal treasurer revealed yesterday that 77,000 tax bills remain unpaid, representing a total of 185 million pesos (nearly US $10 million) in overdue property taxes.

There was some good news, however. León began the year with 122,000 overdue property tax accounts, but the number had been reduced to 77,000 by the end of September.

That means that the local government anticipates receiving 860 million pesos in property tax revenue this year, up from 811 million last year.

The first step in the municipality’s collection procedure is to ask nicely for payment, a request that has proved successful in bringing in a big chunk of the money owing.

The next step is to threaten seizure of the property if the bill is not paid within 15 days, but none of the cases have come to that yet, the treasurer said.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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