Public supports litter ordinance

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 8, 2004

Times-Journal Writer

The City of Selma’s Code Enforcement Officer has been fielding calls for the past week about junked and abandoned cars along city streets, according to Code Enforcement Officer Henry Hicks.

The influx of concern comes from the recent announcement of the city’s strict enforcement of an ordinance prohibiting unused, broken down vehicles on private property.

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There has been an increase in the number of abandoned vehicles throughout the city, Hicks says, which could eventually lead to an infestation of snakes, rats and West Nile-carrying mosquitoes.

“I really want to thank the public for their support in this,” Hicks said. “We have been getting quite a few calls from people wanting us to remove cars. This is going to be a never-ending enforcement for us.”

Section 1 of the “Junk, Litter, and Inoperable Offenses” ordinance defines an inoperable vehicle as in such a state of “disrepair, disassembly, or damage” that renders it unable to be self-propelled.

Along with vehicles, the ordinance also prohibits the abandonment of bicycles, go-carts, lawnmowers, tractors, and trailers.

The Selma Fire Department’s Capt. Greg Lewellen has the authority to enter private property and have these items removed.

Once he deems a vehicle as in violation of the ordinance, a large, brightly colored sticker is placed on the windshield and the owner has 10 days to have it towed.

“If they do not have it towed, they will receive a subpoena to appear before Municipal Court,” Lewellen said. “It’s left up to the discretion of the judge, but more than likely the owners would have to pay a fine plus court costs.”

Hicks said some local companies will tow a vehicle at no charge to the owner.

“We have to get these cars moved and make the city look a lot better,” Hicks said.

The strict enforcement of the abandoned vehicles will begin on Sept. 13.

“Next week we are going to start a full enforcement of trash and litter,” Hicks said. “People have to start putting their household trash in at least one garbage can and not be dumped on the side of the road.”

Hicks and Lewellen said their goal is to clean-up Selma and help citizens take pride in their city.

Information about the ordinance and getting vehicles towed can be obtained by calling Hicks at 874-2106 or Lewellen at 874-2150.