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Liability issues, backlog on city property maintenance has neighbors furious

By PAT BAILEY

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - After two days of sunshine, residents on Conkling Ave in Utica have mowed their lawns in order to make their block look nice. However, they say one city-owned property is plaguing their block, because the city is failing to take care of it.

Tim Butler says he has lived in his Conkling Ave home for five years, and has always maintained his property, along with other properties that he rents. However, Butler says the lot across the street from his house has not been mowed all year, and that the grass that sits three feet high is filled with garbage.

Butler says that since last year, the city has only mowed the property about three times.

"When I look out my picture window, and I look across the street, that is what I see everyday," Butler said as he pointed to the overgrown grass on the neighboring property.

According to Butler, he has tried every avenue in the city, including contacting the Codes Department, DPW, and the Mayor's office. He says all have told him not to cut the grass himself.

"If I let mine go like that, they would be here with a ticket for the grass being too high," Butler said.

According to the property's landlord, the city has informed him not to mow the city property.

Joan Harris, Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Utica, says the city doesn't want citizens taking care of city property, because of the issue of liability.

"We will take care of it," Harris said. "We don't want people to take care of it because of liability issues."

City Officials say they are backed-up on city properties they must mow, and will get to all of them as soon as they can.

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