Supervisors discuss stronger litter ordinance

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Pearl River County’s Board of Supervisors is working with the county’s code enforcement officer to make it easier to consistently enforce county codes concerning littering and derelict property.

During Monday’s meeting, the Board discussed a proposed ordinance to allow the county to issue tickets and fines for violations of litter, refuse and derelict property ordinances.

Code Enforcement Officer Kolby Davis explained that the county currently does not have a penalty mechanism for enforcing codes, aside from the state penalty, which is more extreme. The proposed ordinance is intended to create a penalty, a ticket with a small fee of $50 or $100 that could be used to enforce county codes instead of choosing to either rely on the state level ordinance, which can result in a misdemeanor, or not having any penalty.

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District III Supervisor Hudson Holliday said he was concerned that the codes outlined in the ordinance were too extreme, specifically the junkyard ordinance, which focuses on residents who have unused cars on their property. District II Supervisor Malcolm Perry also said he was concerned that the codes regarding having lumber and scrap metal on a property were too broad.

Davis explained that all of the codes outlined in the proposed ordinance were summaries of the codes that are already in effect in Pearl River County, but are difficult to enforce because it is difficult to penalize people for breaking them. The only change would be adding the new penalty. Some people in the county have seen more extreme penalties and had to go to court for the rules that Holliday was concerned with, said Davis.

County Attorney Joe Montgomery asked the Board members to hold a workshop with Davis to determine how to rewrite the proposed ordinance so that it would be clearer about code violations, but still add a county level penalty.

In a separate matter, Executive Director for the Community of Christians Helping Youth Roy Acker came to the Board to request funding for the organization in the upcoming school year. The organization offers free mentoring for K-12 students in STEAM—science, technology, engineering, art and math. On average the after school program serves 25 students and has a budget of $95,000. COVID-19 has impacted some of the nonprofit’s funding sources, he said.

Board President Sandy Kane Smith said the Board would keep the organization in mind when it began budgeting for the upcoming fiscal year. District II Supervisor Malcolm Perry asked Nuria Arias, who is researching grants for the county, to look into grants that may help fund CCHY.

In other business the Board:

—Approved appointing Reverend Jimmy Richardson as Mississippi Regional Housing Authority Commissioner. The position has been vacant for a year, said Smith. District I Supervisor Donald Hart made the motion to appoint Richardson, which passed unanimously. Richardson previously served on the Pearl River Valley Opportunity Board, said Hart.

The next Board meeting will be Wednesday August 19 at 9 a.m.