Public asked to report health concerns

Belleville is reaching out to its residents for help in cleaning up the township.

The Belleville website allows residents “to confidentially report any public health concerns” around the township to Health Director Colleen Britton.

Britton is accepting complaints on a wide range of issues including:

• Problems at a restaurant, food market or deli.

• Lack of heat for tenants.

• Rodents at a property.

• Accumulated trash or debris at a property.

• Tall grass, weeds, overgrowth at a property.

• General tenant complaints.

• Mosquito breeding or nonmaintained pools.

• Mold in rental apartments.

• Illegal food vendors.

• Issues at body art facilities.

• Issues at tanning salons.

• Unlicensed animals.

• Unsafe/inhumane living conditions for pets.

Since the township posted the invitation in late August, Britton said she has received four complaints – all involving property maintenance – about properties on Columbus Ave., Nolton St., Stephens St. and Little St.

Each complaint resulted in “warning notices” being issued by a public health investigator to the property owners, Britton said. She declined to give specific addresses because, as of now, the owners have not been served violation notices returnable in municipal court.

First priority, Britton said, is getting compliance with public health regulations so owners are being given a chance to clean up their acts before getting tough with them.

“Unfortunately, we have a lot of abandoned homes in Belleville,” Britton said. Typically, she said, an owner will get “an oral or written warning” for maintenance deficiencies “and five days to abate” the problem.

If the owner fails to fix the problem, “we send it to our public works department and they do the cleanup,” she said.

“We bill for the labor and equipment and give that to our tax collector. The owner has 30 days to pay; if not, the collector puts a lien on the property.”

Britton credited the township webmaster Michael Sheldon for recommending posting the online public health complaint form based on prior postings in other communities where he has worked.

The complaint form may be found under the “How do I …” menu item or by visiting the Health Department webpage.

 – Ron Leir 

Learn more about the writer ...