SIKESTON - A bill amending the city's noise disturbance ordinance was approved by council members 7-0.
The bill was passed under the Charter's emergency ordinance clause at Mayor Mike Marshall's request due to numerous complaints, and so required a two-thirds vote instead of a simple majority and goes into effect immediately.
"The City Council and I want to send a clear message," said Marshall, reading from a prepared statement. "We will be fair but strict. Every citizen and visitor to our community will be held responsible and accountable for his actions."
He added that the noise ordinance has been on the books, but some people find the fine "is a laughing matter," according to Marshall, and is hopeful this amendment will "put an end to some of this racket that's going on in town."
Following discussions with the city prosecutor, municipal court judge, city counselor, law enforcement and city staff, this amendment was drafted.
The amendment authorizes law enforcement personnel to seize any vehicle or device used in a loud noise offense when the offender has been convicted or pled guilty to prior noise disturbance violation or has a loud noise violation charge pending.
Seized property may be held for up to 72 hours with the owner being responsible for all towing and storage costs.
Drew Juden, director of public safety, said current storage rates at impounds are around $12-$15 per day.
Marshall said the council does not take the emergency ordinance clause lightly, but waiting another 30 days would mean residents would have to put up with the noise that much longer.
"We do listen to complaints," Mashall said, adding he is confident this amendment will help. "We won't catch them all, but I guarantee we'll slow them down."
Juden recommended putting signage around the city to warn people of the noise ordinance.