Not sure who originally said this but it seems to be right. You can't fight City Hall. They can screw you over and then tell you to deal with it. And you will like it!
I tried calling around to find out more about my notice today. I started with the number the guy gave me the other day. A lady answers and is unable to really help me. I ask her what the fee is for. She says she thinks it is for them to do the initial inspection. So it cost me $25 to put a notice on my door. Pay us 25 bucks and cut the weeds you deadbeat!
Since she was of little help I called the main number. A lady answers and asks who sent the letter. Before I could finish she was transferring me into the City of Milwaukee's phone network from hell. I bounced between pressing 1 and 3 for 10 minutes before I think I got to the person I needed to get to. No, not the person I need. It is a call center. All they do in the call center is take messages. I leave a message for someone to call me back.
4 hours later I get a call from a lady who works in the Forestry department. Seriously people, Forestry? My grass was not that tall! I speak with her to find out what the story is. She informs me that yes, it is a fee for them informing me of need for me to manicure my lawn. I ask why I got one and she says someone complained. I asked for more information on that- knowing I wasn't going to get it- but was told that she neither had a name nor would she give it to me if she did. So basically a nosy person can go around my neighborhood and call in complaints about yards she doesn't like. What if what she thought were weeds were plants I had specifically put in the ground?
I went on with the forestry person about the circumstances around this but she didn't care. Doesn't matter if it rained or not, people get this stuff done she said. I held back a "Screw you lady!" What if I was out of town because of a death in the family? What if I was in the hospital after being shot? What if I joined the Red Cross on a humanitarian mission? Ok, I laughed after typing that one.
I asked how I would know whether I am in compliance with their ordinance. She got snotty and said I would know because I wouldn't get another notice. So in other words they can keep fining me to their liking and I have no say in the matter. Guilty until proven innocent. They can keep shaking me down as much as they like.
I pressed further about whether it is fair to fine someone who doesn't know it is a problem per the city's ordinance. She said it was a decision by the aldermen to change the process and charge up front. Now I have a call into the aldermen.
Basically it looks like the people that run the City of Milwaukee are telling me to bugger off. If I want to appeal this it will cost me $25. That is beyond the $25 they are charging me. If I don't pay it, they threaten to charge me even more and tack it on my already skyrocketing property taxes.
I am not sure what bothers me the most. Is it the fine up front that they are extorting from me? Is it the nosey person in the neighborhood who thinks it is their business to call the city on matters that shouldn't concern them. How much does your life suck if a couple weeds in a yard are too high to your liking? That nosey neighbor should try to contact the home owner first instead of going to the city like a whiney little bitch.
Seems like it is time to once again consider moving out of the city. They don't seem to want to treat their tax payers in a fair manner.