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Elsberry, Mo. - Overgrown shrubs, disabled vehicles and leftover trash.

Authorities in the City of Elsberry are looking to improve the look of the area.

Therefore, the city is planning to step up its code enforcement efforts to address problem properties in Elsberry, based on the ordinances passed by the city’s Board of Aldermen. 

Police Chief Randy Davis said though the issues are relegated to just a few properties in Elsberry, and most residents are compliant with the ordinances, the entire city is affected aesthetically by those who aren’t.

“We do have habitual offenders that it seems no matter how many times you write them a ticket, they do what they want to do,” Davis said. “Most people will take care of their properties though.”

Since Elsberry does not have a code enforcement officer, Davis said he and his police officers are responsible for enforcing the property ordinances. They issue court summons to violators, unless officers don’t see those violations.

Davis also said some of the properties are owned by property management companies, in addition to homeowners.

“It’s incumbent on any officer, including myself, to enforce the codes of our city,” Davis said. “Would we like to have a code enforcement officer here? Of course we would, but that’s a financial issue.”

Elsberry City Attorney Robert Guinness said problem offenders could face fines, and in extreme cases, liens placed on the property by the city – and even foreclosure of the property. The amount of the fines would be up to a judge, depending on how many violations have been reported and proven.

In cases where officers don’t see violators, but neighbors see them, those citizens can report those violations. However, those citizens have to testify to verity those complaints are valid – and Guinness said some people are recalcitrant about doing that.

Nevertheless, many residents could talk to their alderperson about code violations.

Overall, Guinness said the ordinances are in place to keep Elsberry beautiful and valuable.

“These ordinances are important, because we don’t want noxious weeds growing and spreading onto other properties,” he said. “We also don’t want rodents spreading disease as well.

“Second, we want community pride. Lastly, we want to keep property values high.”

Like Guinness, Davis wants the public to know Elsberry is doing something to ameliorate the issue of unsightly properties. However, he said he believes in the goodness of the residents to do the right things.

“Once people know what the ordinances say, they’ll do it,” Davis said. “This is a great town.

“We just have a few violators.”