Government control is growing more and more excessive every day. Here’s a news story you probably won’t believe. If you’re like me, you’ll think, “There has to be more to it. A city can’t do that to one of its citizens and get away with it.”
Before I get into the story, let me clarify the role that government is supposed to play: Government workers have been hired to provide services to the taxpayers, which means serving at the pleasure of its citizens — the people who pay their paychecks. Yet, it continues to work backwards. Government representatives at every level have made themselves the supreme rulers with “we the people” serving at their pleasure by accepting all their questionable laws, regulations, and rules. What’s more, we are expected to pay our taxes without question. As you will see in this story, it’s a case of citizens being obligated to pay their fines or be damned.
Here’s the story:
In Dunedin, Florida, resident Jim Ficken is in fear of losing his home through foreclosure to the city. The offense? Not mowing his lawn. He had to travel out of town to take care of his recently deceased mother’s estate only to come back to find that the city had been fining him $500 a day for tall grass. The ironic part is that Ficken had hired someone to mow his lawn while he was away, but the guy died! At the time of the story, Ficken’s fine was up to $30,000. Ficken says that he doesn’t have $30,000, so the city is threatening to foreclose on his home if he doesn’t pay.
Does that sound ridiculous or even illegal that a city could foreclose on a resident’s home for not mowing the lawn? It happens. Dunedin foreclosed on eighteen homes last year due to unpaid fines, which have become big money generators for the city. In 2007, Dunedin collected $34,000 in fines. In 2018, they collected $1,300,000. That’s a 3,800% increase over the last eleven years. (I’d say it’s a little above the rate of inflation, wouldn’t you?) It looks like Dunedin has found out how to generate lots of revenue for themselves at the expense of its citizens. I’d bet money the revenue hasn’t been used to make the city a better place to live. Anyone want to bet against me?
This last bit goes to show where the city of Dunedin’s priorities are and how they’re out to make an easy buck. According to Ficken’s attorney, it is within the city’s rights to hire a lawn company and pass those expenses on to the homeowner since there is a city ordinance against long grass. What would that have cost — a few hundred bucks? Instead, they chose to collect $30,000 and will foreclose on the guy’s home when the fine is not paid.
There’s almost always more to a story than meets the eye, but watch this 4-minute video with John Stossel and see if you can find enough there that even comes close to justifying a $30,000 fine for an unmowed lawn.