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Clean-up efforts continue in Sunnyside, reports Eikenbary

The Sunnyside City Council heard on Monday night a report from Property Maintenance Facilitator Bill Eikenbary about incidents he has dealt with in the past year.

"It was a busy year," said Eikenbary. "There are a lot of things going on. Complaints are still flowing in."

Councilman Bruce Ricks interjected, attributing the increase in violations Eikenbary has had to deal with to people not taking pride in the community. Ricks said the city is working aggressively to solve these problems.

Eikenbary went on to detail that he dealt with 987 complaints in 2003 and dealt with 1,253 violations. That is a significant increase in both areas from 2002, when there were 811 complaints and 1,190 violations. Eikenbary issued 28 citations last year for infractions. The past year is the second busiest for Eikenbary's department in the last five years.

The most significant problem Eikenbary dealt with in 2003 was abandoned vehicles, which saw 258 cases. That figure is down from the 2002 total of 262.

Ricks wanted to know why abandoned vehicles continue to be an issue in the City of Sunnyside. Eikenbary said many of the abandoned vehicle situations occur from people purchasing another vehicle or having to work on a car and just leave it sitting.

"I don't know what else to do but to keep issuing notices," said Eikenbary.

The area that saw the most significant increase was in graffiti, which rose from 155 cases in 2002 to 203 last year. The April-June period saw the most significant cases of graffiti with 73.

Councilman Don Vlieger said he wanted the city to formally adopt an ordinance that doesn't allow a local business to sell any graffiti-causing materials to people under 18 years of age. He even suggested making the minimum age 21 to purchase such products. Currently, the city has an informal agreement with city businesses to not sell spray paint materials to minors.

Sunnyside resident Ivan White suggested the Council implement an ordinance that would provide harsh punishments for businesses selling graffiti products to anyone under 21.

"I think we have a couple of retailers in town who are ignoring your request," said White.

Housing violations was also an area that kept Eikenbary busy last year, as he responded to 240 incidents, up from 234 in 2002. Weeds were also another problem with 120 cases reported in 2003, increasing from 95 in 2002.

Sunnyside jail trustees provided in excess of 90 hours pulling weeds, cleaning alleys and streets, and removing graffiti.

Eikenbary also reported the annual free spring clean-up in Sunnyside was a success in 2003.

. Mike Kantman can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or email him at mkantman@eaglenewspapers.com

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