SAUK RAPIDS - The Sauk Rapids city council wants to start cleaning-up problem properties around town.  The council held a public hearing on the issue during tonight's (Tuesday) meeting.

Several people spoke both for-and-against a new ordinance that will regulate buildings and vehicles on private property. One resident says it will put a hardship on some.

This government should be acting as a clearinghouse for helping the people of the community, and not punishing them. And that's how I see this proposed ordinance as punishment.

However, another resident says it's about time the city took action.

There's maybe eight or 10 homes in this town that need cleaning-up. But those people that have the junkyards, they clean them up and then a year later it's right back. Those are the yards and the concerns I have, getting those yards cleaned-up and keeping them cleaned-up.

The council unanimously approved the new ordinance. It will require  homes and buildings be kept in good general condition for things like paint, siding, and shingles. It also requires that vehicles be road worthy, operable, and can't be parked on the front lawn.

The first step will be a 30-day letter, then a second letter would be sent out, with a third contact being a citation against the property owner. Those three steps would be about a three-and-a-half month process.

Councilman Kurt Hunstiger says he'd like the city's HRA to be more aggressive in finding ways to help homeowners fix-up their homes and yards. And, Councilman Steve Heinen says they need the ordinance because of the growing number of complaints from residents.