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Mother knows best, except on watering lawn

While house-sitting, she waters on the wrong days. Tickets pile up, so her son has a date with a judge.


© St. Petersburg Times, published May 11, 2001

RICHMOND PLACE -- He played baseball for the Cubs, the Reds, the Mariners and the Devil Rays. Then, during the winter, Ozzie Timmons signed to play in Japan, for the Chunichi Dragons.

Back in Richmond Place, Timmons' Tampa-area family began sharing house-sitting duties. His mother, Julia, took charge of her son's sprinkler system.

Then came the water police. To cope with the drought, the city of Tampa has dramatically increased water enforcement this year and has more than tripled the fines.

On Thursday, March 8, Timmons was cited for illegal watering. His proper day is Sunday.

Julia Timmons, 64, lives in Clair Mel, which is outside Tampa's city limits. She didn't realize that Richmond Place is inside the city.

"I called the water department in the county, and they said Thursday," she said.

City and county watering days are different, and confusion is widespread. So far, the city and county haven't been able to make their rules similar.

On Thursday, March 15, Ozzie Timmons was cited again.

His mother changed the system, but citations were written again on Saturday, March 17, and Wednesday, March 21.

As a repeated violator, Timmons is required to appear in court July 3. His mother plans to go.

"It's my fault," she said. "I don't know how to get the sprinkler system set right. ... I hope they'll go easy on me because I'm an old lady."

- Bill Coats can be reached at (813) 226-3469.

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