New law will help city clean up eyesores in community

Published 2:56 pm Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A new state law that went into effect July 1 will enable municipalities such as Poplarville to expedite cleanup of eyesore properties.

Mayor Billy Spiers and the Poplarville city board have discussed several such situations around the city that have needed attention for several years. DThe board has authorized letters to be sent to property owners, often to no avail.

Visits by Poplarville’s code enforcement officer to home or trailer sites have often proven fruitless because a property owner refused to answer the door or was not available.

According to a new state law, the city of Poplarville can now send a letter to either the physical address or a Post Office box and then place a notice on the door of the home or somewhere visible on the premises notifying the property owner of the city’s intentions.

The new law states the city no longer has to have a face-to-face interaction with the property owner. If the property owner does not comply with the city’s requests within a reasonable time, usually 30 or 60 days, the city could do the work itself or through a contracted source and charge an assessment on the property owner’s taxes. If the taxes with the additional assessment are not paid in a timely fashion, the property could then be put on the auction block on the steps of the Courthouse to pay for the delinquent taxes.

Several properties throughout the city have been condemned and are in need of demolition. Another property owner has failed to move a mobile home that is in violation of a zoning ordinance in a residential zone.

Still others simply need cleaning up to avoid health risks to neighboring homes.

In the case of the zoning violation, if the trailer is not moved within the specified time frame, the property owner will be issued a citation that could then result in daily fines until the trailer is moved.

“We’ve struggled with sending letters,” Mayor Billy Spiers said. “I’m tired of this. We’ve got to do something about cleaning up these properties. We’ve got houses that should have been torn down three years ago.

“We’ve sent letter after letter, and it’s time to do something about it.”

Spiers and the board authorized Guy Ray Holston, city code enforcement officer, to proceed by alerting these property owners under the new state guidelines. Both the mayor and aldermen are hoping residents will comply with the city’s requests.

In other action, aldermen added Buddy Kelly and Lynn Temple to the part-time fire-fighters roster. The board also discussed city employee insurance coverage, an issue taken under advisement from the July 6 board meeting. Aldermen decided to take it under advisement again until the first August meeting.

The board also authorized publishing a notice to seek federal funding for a U.S. Department of Agriculture water line improvement project. The board also authorized removing items from city inventory and putting them up for bid at an online auction Web site. In addition, aldermen approved for Missy Breland to attend a professional judicial development seminar.

The board of aldermen meets the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 5 p.m. at City Hall.