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Graffiti contractor effective in battle
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A contractor used by the city to paint over graffiti in Ceres has been doing such a quick and effective job that the incidence of unsightly tagging has decreased dramatically.

The Ceres City Council rewarded Affordable Custom Painting a two-year contract to cover up graffiti from public and private properties. The city has been using the company's services since 2004.

The company's average time for removing the graffiti, when it is reported, is 30 minutes to two hours. That timing is frustrating gangs who are communicating to other gang members, said Ceres Police Lt. Brent Smith. Last year the company was called out 450 times. In 2009, the company responded to 1,058 abatement calls. In 2011, that number had dropped to 755. So far this year the incidence of graffiti has numbered at 247.

Services are provided at a rate of $68 an hour not to exceed $50,000 per year.

The amount of money the Ceres taxpayers are spending to eradicate graffiti dropped from $62,744 in 2009 to $37,152 last year.

City leaders aim to stay on top of the problem as they focus on keeping higher standards for the way Ceres looks in their quest to intice business and industry.