If residents allow their grass to grow too long the city will issue a citation and mow the grass, billing the resident. Or it used to, when the city could afford grass cutting.
This year Sandusky is struggling with an almost $1 million deficit and cannot afford to hire the usual 50 seasonal workers who do outdoor jobs like cutting grass in the park.
When John Hamilton noticed the grass in Central Park near his office was about a foot high he took his riding mower to the park and began mowing.
"I saw a mess over there and decided to clean it up," Hamilton said.
When a city employee told him to leave Hamilton refused. Police were called. They said he would have to leave or they would arrest him. He said he was going to continue cutting the grass.
Officers handcuffed him and put him in the back of a patrol car while they called the city prosecutor to see what charges might apply.
He was charged with obstructing official business and disorderly conduct and made his first appearance in Sandusky Municipal Court Friday. His case was continued until August.
"We have to come up with policies and procedures before allowing a resident in a park with a lawn mower," said Sandusky City Commission member Dan Kaman.
"There are plenty of citizens who want to help out, to keep the parks beautiful," Hamilton said.
He said the city should set up Saturday work parties to maintain the parks and said he'd be happy to help organize such events.