The mayor's update on several city issues.

Blight: It’s hard to think of a matter that is more frustrating to a homeowner than a neighbor who leaves their property looking very unsightly. Whether it is junk, abandoned cars, car parts, other previously motorized vehicles, card board, building materials, old bicycles and bicycle parts, or unmowed and untrimmed grass, those eyesores cause entire neighborhoods to look unkempt and they depreciate neighboring property values. I’m confidant every City Council member has heard from frustrated property owners.

The City of Sleepy Eye does have a blight ordinance. However, the offending property owners, who are the subject of this frustration, have found ways to get around the ordinance. Or, as one property owner who caused some frustration commented, “It’s cheaper to pay the fine than it is to clean it up.” Well, the City Council is one meeting away from making some substantial changes to the blight ordinance that will put teeth back in it. Included in the possible ordinance are a fine scale beginning at $250, laddered up to $1,000. The proposed ordinance will treat commercial property the same as residential property. The City will also be given the authority after warnings to go in and have the property cleaned up at the property owner’s expense.

The second reading of the ordinance is scheduled for 7 p.m., Oct. 10, at the regular City Council meeting. If you have thoughts or feelings about this ordinance, be sure to speak to a City Council representative or attend the Oct. 10 City Council meeting.

Auction: The Orchid Inn’s contents are slated to be auctioned off on Saturday, Nov. 18, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Welcome: We’re pleased to welcome a new business to Sleepy Eye. C&S Heating and Air Conditioning and Bulldog Properties LLC will begin construction on a new building just west of the Casey’s property in the Snow Farm addition.

Televised council meetings: We believe the Oct. 10 City Council meeting, and each subsequent City Council meeting, will be televised on the city’s website and on the community access channel. No longer will we be able to complain, “There’s nothing good on TV.” City Council meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month.

Budget: The preliminary budget was set at the last City Council Meeting. One of the crazy laws in Minnesota forces cities to set their preliminary budget the highest it could possibly be needed, and then when the budget is finalized the city can only lower it. The law, in effect, forces cities to set their preliminary budgets higher than needed to protect themselves from some unforeseen event. So, in Sleepy Eye’s case, the preliminary budget was set to increase 3.5 percent, but it’s hoped that the increase can be lower. The final levy is set in December.