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Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

No-tolerance ordinance begins May 5

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Randall Drake helps clean up the lot at 1312 West Murray Lane.
SIKESTON - While ignorance is no excuse for not obeying the law, Sikeston City officials don't want to issue summons - they just want the town cleaned up.

Sikeston Community Redevelopment Coordinator Trey Hardy said city officials are doing their best to make sure everyone in town knows about the city's new no-tolerance stance on property maintenance, junk and trash, tall grass and weeds and derelict vehicles before the ordinance goes into effect May 5.

"We are just asking people to be responsible for what's theirs," said Hardy, adding it was citizen feedback that led to the city implementing the no-tolerance policy.

As part of this effort to get the word out, several measures are being taken, Hardy said.

"Wednesday, 9,800 flyers will go out," he said. "They are going to be inserted into the Wednesday paper."

Additional copies will be distributed as handouts, Hardy added.

Beginning May 6, orange notebook paper-sized violation stickers will be placed on derelict vehicles advising owners they have seven days to remove or correct the vehicle violation.

"Not only the people that own it will know it's targeted, but everybody who goes by will know it's targeted," Hardy said. "They will know that: a) it is in violation; and b) that they have seven days from the date of the notice to take care of the problem."

If after seven days the problem is not addressed, "it will be towed at the owner's expense," said Hardy.

"There are four towing companies that are set up through the Department of Public Safety," said Public Works Director Tom Bridger. "We'll be using those."

The notice will have the deadline marked on it and the phone number to contact Code Enforcement as well as the name of the code officer they should contact.

Code enforcement officers will keep a list of vehicles they have put stickers on so they can make sure the vehicles are towed or otherwise taken care of after a week, Hardy said.

Bridger pointed out that even if the vehicle is moved elsewhere or the problems otherwise resolved within those seven days, the owner will still have to deal with a city summons.

"When that sticker is put on they are cited at that time," Bridger said. "Even if they abate it, they still have to appear in court."

Unlicensed vehicles not in a state of disrepair will be noted by code enforcement officers for follow-up checks after six months, unless there is more than one at the residence, in which case a summons is immediately called for under the no-tolerance policy.

Those with unlicensed vehicles that are not in a state of disrepair will receive a letter advising they have six months to license or move the vehicle out of town or into a garage.

Also beginning May 6, landlords along with their renters will begin receiving summons to appear for property maintenance issues related to their rentals such as tall grass, weeds, junk and trash in the yard.

"Occupants and property owners will both be held responsible," said Bridger.

For structural matters such as the condition of home exteriors, fences and sheds, "each one will be dealt with on an individual basis," Hardy said.

Other efforts to get the word out include public service announcements on local radio stations and on Charter Cable programming.

"We've had good feedback," Hardy said.

"Several people have seen it on TV lately," said Bridger.

Hardy said he was surprised to see the city's no-tolerance PSA come up on ESPN during the first round NFL draft coverage.