Booneville Police Department officers are likely to start serving cleanup notices as necessary starting about Oct. 1, according to Lt. Ben Villarreal.
In July the Booneville City Council approved a new ordinance that allows police officers to serve copies of the ordinance and a cleanup notification to those deemed in violation.
The ordinance was requested to streamline the process of addressing unsightly properties.
“We’re just trying to take a new approach to make the town better,” Villarreal said.
Previously, a complaint was lodged through City Hall, Mayor Jerry Wilkins signed a “cleanup letter” and an officer then served the notification at a residence.
Villarreal said the delay since the passage of the ordinance was necessitated because the department had to acquire printed forms, and in hopes of giving potential offenders a chance to address issues with their property.
“If they see a yard that is not in compliance (an officer) can stop, serve the people with a letter to begin with,” said Villarreal.
After notification, the property owner will have 20 days to remedy the shortcoming, which could be overgrown grass, storage of garbage or other unsightly articles, stagnant water, merchandise to be moved, trash bins or receptacles to be moved, removal of grass/limbs/trash from curbs, gutters and streets, or other.
Those who decline to do so will be issued a citation, the fine of which can be up to $100 per day, which is assessed by the district court judge.
“The issue is not to generate fines, but to clean the place up,” said BPD Chief Rusty Lewis.
Speaking specifically to grass height — the ordinance specifies eight inches — Lewis said the department understands the amount of rainfall received this summer had led to grass growth “but if you haven’t mowed all summer, there’s a problem.”
Villarreal added properties on which there is no dwelling are allowed by law to allow the property to remain in a natural state.