The City of Laurel’s Inspection Department is working to improve the appearance of the City Beautiful.
In an effort to improve the appearance of the city, Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee in March appointed a new superintendent of the Inspections Department.
Sandra Hadley, who has worked for the city for many years, became the new superintendent of the Inspection Department. Hadley said the city is tasked with the enforcement of Property Safety & Maintenance and Zoning Codes which address Housing Safety, Property Maintenance (residential and commercial), Unsafe Structure, Nuisance Properties (overgrowth, trash/debris, etc.), Junk and Abandoned Vehicles, and All Zoning related Violations.
Hadley said the City of Laurel has been working to bring awareness to property owners and tenants about the general guidelines and information on proper maintenance of residential and commercial properties, as well as commercial and residential zoning issues, in accordance with the City of Laurel’s Municipal Code and Ordinances.
She said over 9,000 flyers in English and Spanish were mailed to make residents in their water bills in May to make them aware of the general guidelines and information on proper maintenance of residential and commercial properties, as well as commercial and residential zoning issues, in accordance with the City of Laurel’s Municipal Code and Ordinances.
“I want the people to know that the department will be working to enforce the codes and ordinances and that’s what we are here for,” Hadley said. “We have worked to inform people of the code and ordinances and we are enforcing them.”
She said the department is working to make sure all residential and commercial structures are up to code and that unsafe structures and nuisance properties are addressed.
According to the city code, the International Property and Maintenance Code requires maintenance of all residents’ structures at a certain level and covers violations inside and outside the structure and excessive trash and junk in the yard, to obstructed sewer lines and improper plumbing or electric installations. Failure to correct violations of this section may result in a citation to the owner and/or tenant, or property being set for Council to approve Parks & Recreation to clean the property and access cost to the owner’s property taxes.
Additionally, the International Property Maintenance Code also addresses any structurally unsound and/or unsafe building. According to the code, if necessary, the city may take action to demolish the structure. Failure to correct such violations may result in property fines and/or property being set for Council to approve demolition by city contractor and access cost to the owner’s property taxes.
Nuisance Properties are identified as properties with high grass; trash and/or debris on vacant lots; vacant, open, and unguarded structures and; occupied properties are considered violations of the International Property Maintenance Code Ordinances’ nuisance section.
Failure to correct violations of this section may result in removal of violations or board up of an open structure by the city or city contractor (abatement) with subsequent liens placed on the property. In addition, repeat violations may also result in being set for Council to approve Parks Recreation to clean the property and access cost to the owner’s property taxes.
Hadley said the city has been working to educate and raise awareness on the importance of maintaining properties in order to protect property values, livability and the quality of a neighborhood. She said the City of Laurel has given the tenants and/or home/business owners two months to help remedy some of these ongoing problems.
As of June 1, Hadley said, courtesy letters/notifications were being issued. Hadley said residents receiving notices about property need to contact the inspections department at 601-428-6438 within 10 days.
During the Laurel City Council meeting this month, the council set July 6 th as the public hearing date for 64 pieces of properties in the city to determine whether or not the properties are in such a state of uncleanliness so as to be a menace to the public health and safety of the community.
Additionally, the council conducted two hearings to its meeting and approved the city to clean up the property and assess the cost back to the property owner. Council members and the city administration pointed out the aggressiveness of the city’s inspection Department. Mayor Magee said he is pleased to “see the inspections department working to clean up the city.”
This week, the council is expected to set July 20 th as the public hearing date for an additional 10 pieces of properties in the city to determine whether or not the properties are in such a state of uncleanliness so as to be a menace to the public health and safety of the community.
Additionally, the council is scheduled to conduct 17 hearings at Tuesday’s meeting and determine if the city needs to clean up the property and assess the cost back to the property owner.
The city council will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Council Chambers at Laurel City Hall.