Under a new anti-graffiti plan adopted by the City Council, graffiti written on private property may now be removed without the property owner's authorization at the city's expense.
"The city is going to obliterate all the graffiti," Mayor Sal Sapien said Wednesday. "Now we have the tools to go in and get rid of the graffiti even if the owner doesn't volunteer to let us paint" over it.
The ordinance, passed unanimously Tuesday, also allows the council to establish a reward for information leading to the conviction of graffiti vandals. The plan allows the city to make vandals pay the cost of any reward offered for information leading to their conviction.
The city will pay the full cost of removing graffiti from any property that can be seen by the public. For graffiti applied to private property where it cannot be publicly viewed, the city will pay for the labor but not the paint, said Community Development Manager Bonnie Kirk, because "we can't buy every color of paint (used) in Stanton."
When an owner does not cooperate in removing graffiti, the city may declare the property a public nuisance and remove the graffiti at the owner's expense.
The city now spends around $16,000 a year on graffiti removal, employing a painter who spends 30 hours a week responding to calls from the city's graffiti hot line.
Under the ordinance, parents are financially responsible for damage caused by their children.