By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – City code enforcement officers have issued property owners 336 warnings about 591 separate violations since the start of the year, according to the Tupelo Development Services Department.
The department’s code enforcement division this year intensified efforts to stop some of the most common infractions as part of an citywide beautification effort.
Among the most widespread problems were zoning violations, outside storage and dilapidated structures. Together, they accounted for three-fourths of the total violations, according to code enforcement officer Lynda Ford.
A majority of property owners corrected the issues after receiving warning letters, Ford said. Those who didn’t received citations. Thirty-seven have been written so far this year.
“Honestly, that’s not many tickets,” Ford said. “We’re getting compliance like you wouldn’t believe. People are complying right away.”
Ford attributed the program’s success, in part, to increased publicity from the Daily Journal, which had published a series of stories about municipal codes each Monday for 10 weeks.
The city also had passed tough, new measures this year giving code enforcement officers the power to write tickets on the spot. Because they’re not police officers, code enforcement officers previously couldn’t issue citations. Instead, they gave warnings and filed affidavits at Municipal Court. The court then issued citations.
The process took weeks and involved both manpower and paperwork.
Tupelo also hired an additional code enforcement officer and received a commitment from the Police Department to pick up the slack on evenings and weekends when the Code Division is closed.
TO ASK A QUESTION or report code violations, call the Tupelo Development Services Department at (662) 841-6510 and ask to speak to the Code Enforcement Division.
STARTING JULY 16, the Daily Journal will launch a new weekly series
featuring tips from the Development Services Department on maintaining and improving properties.