FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The City of Fort Wayne’s annual tall grass/weed program began on Monday, May 15.

The program, enforced by Neighborhood Code Compliance, allows citizens to report properties that have grass or weeds taller than nine inches.

Citizens can report possible violations by calling 311 or 260-427-8311.

“When a property gets to the point of tall weeds, tall grass, it promotes rodent and insect infestation that affects neighboring properties. It holds water. There’s a number of things as to the detriments to the neighborhood in keeping tall grass,” Chris Blauvelt said.

Blauvelt is the Deputy Director of Neighborhood Code Compliance for the City of Fort Wayne.

He told WANE 15 that they’re averaging 6,000 violations per year for the past two or three years. It’s unclear how many of those citations were for repeat offenders.

If a property is in violation, they’ll receive a citation with a notice ordering them to mow within five days.

If they don’t, Neighborhood Code will send a private contractor to mow the property and send an invoice to the property owner. The charge is based on lot size.

If they don’t pay within 30 days, it gets recorded as a special assessment lien on their property taxes. Blauvelt said that in 2022, they had to go back and mow about a third of the 6,200 properties they issued citations for.

“It is our most popular program,” he said. “The quadrants and the leaders, the neighborhood leaders, all wait for the day that we start posting. So, we look at the beginning of [their] year as being very busy for the first three to four weeks.”

In regards to repeat offenders, Blauvelt said that there isn’t a harsher penalty right now; However, he added that they’re looking at the city ordinance to see if there’s a possibility of a graduated penalty structure for repeat offenders.