Seith Snow is keeping the town clean, one city ordinance at a time.

Seith Snow is keeping the town clean, one city ordinance at a time.

Snow is McPherson's code enforcement officer, and as such, it is his job to respond to violation complaints and find places that are in violation of city code.

"The things I find range from uncut yards to inoperable vehicles to trash in the yard," Snow said. "Yards and vehicles are the most common right now."

Each day, Snow receives between four and six complaints of code violations. Those who make these reports are kept anonymous. On days when he doesn't receive reports, he can spend as much as half his day looking for things that can be fixed.

Once a violation is reported, Snow has three days to visit the location and see if the complaint is valid and take pictures. If the complaint is valid, he sends the resident a notice.

"It'll say they're in violation of a code, includng which code it is, and tells them what they need to do to fix it," he said. "There's also a deadline for them to fix the problem. If the don't, then I start the violation notice process."

The deadline depends on the nature of the violation. A downed tree limb, for example, must be disposed of within 10 days, whereas a broken-down vehicle must be removed or repaired within 30 days.

If residents fail to comply by the deadline, Snow begins a 10-day violation notice process, after which he seeks permission from the city to fix the problem — remove a tree limb or vehicle, for example. The resident is assessed the cost of this intervention.

Snow said violations rarely come to that, though, as residents typically fix the problem themselves.

"I've only had to do that maybe four times since I started here in September of last year," he said. "All of those were uncut yards."

While some violations may seem tedious, Snow said ordinances are in place to improve neighborhood safety and appearance.

"I make sure neighborhoods don't just degrade," he said. "If no one cut their yard, for example, everywhere would be a jungle, and dangerous animals and bugs might move in."

To report a code violation, or for questions about a violation notice, contact Snow by calling the McPherson city office, 620-245-2535, or emailing Snow at

"I'm not liked too much, because of what my job is, but it's there for a reason," Snow said. "I'm here to help, and assist in keeping the town clean."