Mayor leads Hillsville clean-up effort

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Greg Crowder plans to clean his own property to set example

By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — One month after Hillsville Town Council updated an ordinance on clearing trash and brush off properties, the mayor indicated he plans to lead by example and clean up his own land.
Council worked with Town Manager Travis Jackson in June to approve its ordinance on “removal of brush and trash by town,” and Mayor Greg Crowder said at the July 22 council meeting that having a good appearance could bring in benefits for Hillsville.
“One thing Mr. Jackson taught me, it’s the importance of the presentation of our community,” the mayor noted. “With that being said, I myself have got some junk — and I hate to call it junk, really in my mind it’s inventory — but to the normal person, it’s junk.”
Whatever the term, Crowder said he’s working to dispense of items that he and family members have accumulated over the years.
“I want to lead by example and I want to challenge the rest of the community to do the same,” he said. “Because it’s vital we get the town into as nice a presentation as we can.”
Crowder believes that all citizens should participate in order to put the town’s best face forward and improve the economy.
“We want to try to clean the town up, keep everything mowed,” the mayor said. “It’s very vital when you’re trying to bring tourism and a corporation in. When they come to town, you don’t get a second chance at a first impression.”
A lot of people like to “accumulate inventory” like he has, and Crowder noted that the town has to deal with clutter in a responsible way.
Hillsville has long had an ordinance dealing with properties that are neglected, town representatives said after the meeting.
One ordinance change involved Hillsville being able to send a crew to mow a property if, after a written notice is issued, seven days pass with no action.
Under those conditions, town workers can mow and bill the property owner through real estate taxes, according to the ordinance.
The previous version of the ordinance had given a property owner longer to correct that kind of situation, which often allowed the unkempt conditions to linger for longer periods of time, town officials indicated.