Manila clean-up effort underway

Friday, April 9, 2004
Code Enforcement Officer Fred Burks (left) and Manila Chief of police Jackie Hill look over city ordinance dealing with property maintenance in the city limits. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

A clean-up effort is underway in Manila. Code Officer Fred Burks and Police Chief Jackie Hill ask for the cooperation from the residents.

"We need to take pride in our community," Hill said. "Mowing season is here and yards and lots must be mowed on a regular basis."

Burks said cleaning up property will save money more ways than one.

Hill said that Ordinance 144 of Manila is very clear about unsightly or unsanitary property in the city limits.

The ordinance prohibits the keeping, storing or maintaining of inoperable motor vehicles and other unsightly and unsanitary items on private property. The property must be free of weeds, garbage and rubbish. Property owners are required to eliminate, fill up or remove stagnant pools of water or any other unsanitary things, place or condition which might become a breeding place for mosquitoes, flies and germs harmful to the health and welfare of the citizens.

It is unlawful for open storage of any junk motor vehicle, inoperative household appliance, old vehicle tires, glass, building material, paper, building rubbish or similar unsightly and unsanitary items. Junk motor vehicles means any vehicle which is inoperable, dismantled or damaged, that is unable to start and move under its own power or one that does not have a current valid license plate. Household appliance includes but is not limited to refrigerators, deep freezes, ranges, stoves, automatic dishwasher, clothes washers, clothes dryers, trash compactors, television sets, radios, hot water heaters, air conditioning units, commodes and other plumbing fixtures, bed springs or other furniture. Inoperable household appliance means a discarded household appliance which, by reason of mechanical or physical defects, can no longer be used for its intended purpose and which is not serving a functional purpose.

"We are always fighting mosquitoes. The best way to help that problem is removing anything that holds water," Burks said. "Also unkempt property creates a problem with rats and mice."

Hill explained the legal steps for property clean-up in the ordinance. Letters will be mailed to occupants giving 20 days to clean up the property. After the 20 days, tickets will be written and residents will have to appear in court.

A violation of the ordinance can cost up to $25 to $100 a day with every day being a new violation.

"If the city has to go in and clean the property, a lien will be placed on the property for payment," Burks said.

Hill pointed out that the ordinance is for commercial and residential property.

"We have had a good response so far with the letters that have been sent out," Burks said.

Hill said anyone that would like a copy of the ordinance can contact him or Burks and one will be provided to them.

Hill said that if there are elderly residents that need help with clean-up, they can contact him and he will do his best to get them some community help.

"I am sure that we have Boy Scouts or church groups that would be willing to volunteer to help our senior citizens," Hill said.

"I would appreciate the people's cooperation in our efforts in cleaning up the city," Mayor Clifford Veach said. "It is time.

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