When the winter’s snow melts away, some yards around town reveal a mess, or “garbage” as Sleepy Eye’s blight officer, Matt Ibberson, calls it.

When the winter’s snow melts away, some yards around town reveal a mess, or “garbage” as Sleepy Eye’s blight officer, Matt Ibberson, calls it. Ibberson said with spring here and yards more visible, the city will step up its enforcement of the blight ordinance. “Clean up the garbage,” he said.

One of the conditions addressed by the ordinance is accumulation of garbage, rubbish, junk and other litter on a property. The ordinance states it is deemed “a public nuisance, as it is a direct threat to the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of this City, and it detracts from the surrounding neighborhood because it: a) is unsightly, b) decreases adjoining landowners' and occupants' enjoyment of their property and neighborhood, and c) adversely affects property values and neighborhood patterns.”

Ibberson said in extreme cases, an accumulation of garbage can attract vermin or rodents—another reason to address the issue before it gets worse.

“Anyone who has a complaint or concern about a property, can call the city office and the information will be forwarded to me,” said Ibberson.

After receiving a complaint, Ibberson said he looks at the property and takes a picture. “I fill out a form that details the offense and take it to the home. If no one is home, I post it on the door,” he said. “I’d rather talk to them right away. It is their responsibility to clean it up, but if they need help, I can give advice. There are businesses that provide clean up services, or people who pick up old appliances or metal items for recycling.”

Ibberson said the blight form gives a time frame for competing the clean up. “It is at my discretion, usually a week, but I work with people,” he said.

“I’ll also be looking at back yard parking,” Ibberson said. “Any vehicles parked in yards have to be on gravel or hard surfaces—no parking on grass or dirt. And the vehicles must have current license tabs.”

Have a complaint about tall grass or weeds? Call the city and leave a message for Ibberson. I’m the city weed inspector, too,” he said.