City sees slight increase in amount spent to maintain vacant lot - KXXV Central Texas News Now

City sees slight increase in amount spent to maintain vacant lots

(Source: KXXV) (Source: KXXV)

The City of Waco owns hundreds of vacant lots all over the city -- and maintaining those lots is costing tax payers tens of thousands of dollars.

Robert Pirelo is the Code Enforcement Supervisor for Waco and he said the city owns about 800 vacant lots. He also said nearly $96,000 was spent on the upkeep of vacant lots in the last fiscal year.

The official said the city hires contractors to maintain the empty lots. He said the contractors are responsible for removing tree limbs and trash and for cutting the grass in each lot.

"Probably our number one complaint at the City of Waco are the high grass and weeds complaints that come in," Pirelo said. "This year was a particularly wet year so the mowing reoccurred more often tan some years in the past."

Robert Anderson is a Waco resident who said there are about ten vacant lots around his house. 

"That's four right there -- four over there -- they've all been empty since I been here," Anderson said. "I makes the whole neighborhood look bad."

Anderson said it's not just the empty lots that he feels make the neighborhood look bad, but it's also what's in the yards.

"They don't never pick up any paper or trash limbs or anything. They just cut over them," he said. "The people not doing the job they're getting paid to do."

Pirelo said maintaining the hundreds of lots Waco owns is not as easy as it may seem.

"We need to take care of our properties if we expect someone to take care of theirs," he said. "It's really [a] huge [job], [with a] small number of employees, it's a big task to take care of."

Nonetheless, the supervisor tries his best to make sure the properties get cleaned up.

"We still work at it," Pirelo said. "We work very hard to try to keep the lots looking good."

Of the more than 800 lots the city owns, about 260 of them are for sell, and that the city will continue to take care of all of the lots until the ones up for sale are sold.

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