Can I legally send my local government a bill?

My house happens to be situated up againsts county land on two sides including the front.
This means that in the winter time I have to remove snow from their sidewalks and in the summer time I have to upkeep the grass etc. In the fall I rake leaves that fall from their trees.

Of course nobody asked me to do these things but I have complained that the property should be kept up to neighborhood standards but they pretty much blow me off. If I do nothing then I’m the one who has to look at it.

Can I send them a bill for my time? Any other neighbor would be fined by the township (who also doesn’t act on my complaints) for not removing snow or clipping their lawns.

I know they wouldn’t pay, but could I send them a bill without being accused of extortion or something?

Perhaps a letter to your City Councilperson describing the neglect of city property?
And perhaps hinting that tall grass is a breeding ground for rodents-therefore a health hazard?

Personally, I would request compensation for time (which will likely be ignored).

After this I would stop doing the stuff you are doing. Let the local government folks see the result. And complain about the lack of maintenance.

IANAL, I can’t see how you’d be accused of extortion, unless you actually made a threat to person or property.

On the other hand, unless your city/county charter (or whatever) specifically lays out neighborhood cleanliness as the government’s duty or as a citizen’s entitlement, I can’t see that you’d have any realistic chance at getting paid.

Let me add that I supply goods and services to several local governments in the form of veterinary care for police dogs. I send them bills, and they pay them. The day they stop paying, I stop providing goods and services.

IANAL also, but lets look at this from another perspective.

Do you have the right to go around cutting peoples grass and then charge them for it without their consent?



Because it would allow everyone to go and charge people for a service they never requested.

What is the difference here?

I would follow vetbridge’s and Bosda’s advice and stop maintaining it, then complain to your councilperson.

Rooves, you also need to check the laws in your jurisdiction.

Where I live it is the property owner’s responsibility to keep the sidewalks clear. Realistically, the city uses sidewalk plows to do it so nobody ever shovels the sidewalks. But that doesn’t change how the law reads.

Similarly, the tree lawns - the strips of land between the sidewalk and the curb - are part of the city’s right-of-way. If they want to widen the street they can do so. But it’s still my responsibility to mow that lawn. Depending the status of that land next to your house, it could be your job.

And even if not, why doesn’t your county do these things on the land that you’re talking about? Probably because - like every other municipality in the country - they’re broke and can’t even maintain the public areas that people really care about.

I believe sending a bill would be a very bad idea. Sending out phony invoices is a common business scam and I believe you are opening yourself up to a charge of fraud.

I think your time and energy would be better spent creating some sort of incentive for the county to do something about the situation. You should for sure stop doing the work and then start getting petitions signed, get letters to the editor written, try to find a way to present the story to a reporter in a way that makes it possible for him/her to really have something to say about it other than you are unhappy with the situation. Get as many people on your side as possible and make your voice heard. Try to get all your neighbors to attend the next council meeting en masse. Make this a political issue, not a monetary issue.

My house sits on 2.3 acres and on each side the are lots of approximately the same size that belong to someone down the road. I maintain the entire area because it looks better and doesn’t provide a haven for all kinds of vermin. If that is important to you I would keep doing it. If you can stand for it to look bad for a long period then let it go and look for supporters to petition the city to do the job. Just remember that it will be embarrassing if you lose and have to go back and resume taking care of it. :frowning: [sup]Good luck in whatever choice you make.[[/sup]

No idea if this would be applicable but in Wisconsin there is a state board of claims to which citizens who believe they have suffered some loss because of governmental actions may submit a request for compensation. I would imagine there is something similar in every state. It’s a longshot but if you feel you’ve suffered an actual loss or damages you could look into filing a claim.

To clarify:

I will aways take care of the land because there’s an obvious gain to me and my property.

I don’t actually expect to get paid for what I’m doing, but rather make a point that what I’m doing would come as a cost to anyone else (other than government owned land).

Where I live is definitely not a poor area by any stretch of the word to any entity, private or otherwise.

I pay $160.00 a summer to be a member of the county pool (which is very nice). Why should I pay this? Instead, shouldn’t I get a credit?
Is it obnoxious for me to think that I pay my swimming pool dues all year round as opposed to someone who doesn’t clean up after these shlepps?

I think if Rooves sends a bill to the County, it will just be ignored. As he says, “nobody asked me to do these things”.

And I think if Rooves stops performing these services, the County would never notice that, either.

I’d suggest that Rooves would be happier if he just keeps his mind on what he said: “I will aways take care of the land because there’s an obvious gain to me and my property.” That’s the most relevant fact. Cutting the boulevard grass and raking the leaves keeps his neighborhood looking nice. Shoveling the snow keeps the sidewalks open for him, his family, and his neighbors to walk on – it isn’t the County Commissioners walking on those sidewalks, after all. So just keep on doing this, and don’t get yourself worked up about it. Just remember that these things you are doing are mostly benefitting yourself & your neighborhood. (And it could be worse – lots of people who start threads here about their terrible neighbors would be glad to have empty County land next door!)

I have a friend who lives across the street from a forest preserve park. She once complained (jokingly) to a Park Commissoner that she had to rake the leaves from the park that blew onto her property. His response was “we have lots of developers after us to sell them that parkland, so they can cut down that wasteful forest and build a nice, taxpaying apartment complex. Should I put you down as someone in favor of that?” She promptly assured him that she did not favor that, and that she was willing to continue dealing with the leaves as compensation for having a forest preserve next to her house.

Are there some code enforcement people you can call?

We got visited by them when our neighbor/nemesis complained about the height of our lawn the summer our mower broke.