Nuisance Abatement Policy

City of Marengo Nuisance Abatement Information

Chapter 50 of the Marengo Code of Ordinances provides the ability to deal with nuisances. A copy of that chapter can be seen by clicking here. In addition, a policy was adopted to provide staff and citizens with guidance in dealing with the chapter. A copy of that policy can be seen by clicking here.



Frequently Asked Questions About Nuisance Abatements

What are nuisance abatements?

The nuisance abatement procedure is established and governed by Chapter 50 of the Marengo Code of Ordinances. It provides a structure and sets a procedure for dealing with properties deemed to have or be nuisances.

Why does the city have a nuisance abatement process?

Simply put, the procedure provides a way for the city to get residents to clean up their property. The purpose behind abatements is to make the community a better place to live. If everybody in town keeps their property clean and orderly, the whole community looks better. Keeping yards mowed and debris cleaned up and out of view from the right-of-ways shows citizens within the community and people passing through that residents take pride in their city. The hope is that this will encourage new growth in the community through new people and businesses moving into the city.

Who decides what a nuisance is?

The city currently utilizes two (2) processes in deciding what a nuisance is. They are:

Yearly Mass Abatements. Every year, the city goes through a large abatement process that covers the entire town. This usually happens in May to coincide with the city-wide garage sale and cleanup events. In this process, the city administrator and the police chief canvass the entire city making notes about nuisances. When every street and alley has been covered, the list is reviewed by staff, letters are created, and then delivered. 

Individual Abatements. The City of Marengo Nuisance Abatement Policy provides staff and residents guidance on how to handle individual nuisances. Any time the city receives two (2) verified complaints regarding a single address, staff will start the abatement process on the property.

What is a “verified complaint”?

According to the city’s nuisance abatement policy, a verified complaint is a documented complaint consisting of:

  1. Date of Complaint
  2. Name of Citizen Filing Complaint
  3. Phone Number of Citizen Filing Complaint
  4. Address of Property Where Nuisance is Occurring
  5. Specific Details/Description Regarding the Nuisance
  6. City Staff Visually Verifying the Nuisance Exists

I received a Notice to Abate letter. What do I do now?

There are two options you can choose from when you have received a Notice to Abate letter.

Option 1: Clean up the nuisance.

This is usually the easiest option for both residents and the city. At the end of the abatement time period specified in the letter, city staff will check to make sure the nuisance is taken care of.

Option 2: Request a hearing before city council.

You also have the right to request a hearing before the City Council as provided by Chapter 50.08 of Marengo Code of Ordinances. To do so, a written request must be delivered to the City Clerk within 10 days of delivery of the Notice to Abate letter. The hearing will be scheduled for the next regular city council meeting.

It may be beneficial to explain why you believe the nuisance in question is not a nuisance or why you do not believe the time frame provided to abate the nuisance is reasonable. If the letter includes that information, city staff will provide copies to the councilmembers at the meeting. The Marengo City Council will then hear your argument at the meeting and make a decision on how to proceed.

For your convenience, the Marengo Public Library has a number of computers available for public use. The current price to print a single page black and white page is ten (10) cents.

If I do not take care of the issue, what can the city do?

Failure to abate can result in a municipal infraction and a civil penalty can be assessed. The penalties are laid out in section 50.14(2) of Marengo City Code and can be seen below:

50.14(2) PENALTIES. A municipal infraction under this chapter is punishable by the following civil penalties:

                                A.            First Offense: Not to exceed $100.00.

                                B.            Second Offense: Not to exceed $250.00.

                                C.            Third and Subsequent Offense: Not to exceed $500.00.

Each day that a violation occurs or is permitted to exist constitutes a separate offense. Any person violating this chapter may also be required to pay all costs and expenses involved in the prosecution of the violation.”

Sections 50.10 through 50.14 provide the city the ability to abate the nuisances and assess the costs to the property owner. When this happens, city staff comes to a property and takes care of the nuisance. A total of the expenses is kept and provided to the owner. The owner then has one (1) month to pay the costs. If costs have not been paid by that time, they will be collected in the same way as property taxes.

If the expense exceeds $100, the city may permit the assessment to be paid in up to ten (10) annual installments.

If I take care of the issue, will I get a municipal infraction?

If you clean up the nuisance within the time specified in the Notice to Abate letter, you will not be issued an infraction. 

I am a renter who received a Notice to Abate letter. Did my landlord receive a letter regarding the nuisance?

Both landlords and tenants receive a copy of Notice to Abate letters. This is done to provide both parties the chance to be knowledgeable of the nuisance.

I received Notice to Abate letter that has my neighbor’s items on it. What should I do?

It can sometimes be difficult to tell who owns what when looking at items in someone’s yard, especially near a property line. City staff occasionally thinks an item on the abatement list may belong to a certain house when it actually belongs to the neighbor. If this happens, please call City Hall and ask for the city administrator so the matter can be resolved. 

I feel city staff is singling me out regarding nuisances. What can I do?

We apologize if you feel singled out. During the mass abatement process, a large number of letters are sent out.  Some of these are to addresses that have received letters before and some are to new addresses. Individual abatements are handled on a case by case basis as they arise.

If you feel singled out, you can contact one of the following individuals regarding your concern:

City Administrator – Call City Hall.

City Attorney – Call City Hall to request number. 

Elected Official – A list of elected officials and their contact information can be found on the Marengo City Council section of this website.