City to review junk car law

By BRENT MAZE,

The City of Newton has started to crack down on property owners who have dilapidated houses, and Newton Alderman Eric McCalphia wants the city to continue trying to clean up the city by turning its attention to broken-down cars in people’s yards.

In particular, he wants to see homeowners to move cars that might be on blocks to garages or somewhere out of sight from the roadways.

Currently, the city enforces an ordinance for abandoned vehicles on city rights of way, but nothing has been done about vehicles on private property.

McCalphia along with City Attorney Robert Logan and code enforcement/airport director Ron Davis said the city has the ordinances on the books.

“We need to let people know that we have these ordinances,” McCalphia said.

Hillie said the city in the past hasn’t actively sought out property owners who were in violation of this ordinance or the dilapidated structure ordinance.

“This board doesn’t go out there and earmark a specific piece of property,” Hillie said. “We address to the complaints of the citizens.”

However, McCalphia felt like the city should enforce its ordinances.

“If we aren’t going to enforce this ordinance, then why have it?” McCalphia said. “I’d like to see this in the paper and let people know about it.”

Mayor Murray Weems suggested that the city might need to revisit the ordinance.

Davis added, “It might be like of the ordinances that we have. It may be kind of vague.”

Logan said he would bring copies of the ordinance back to the board at a future meeting for the board to review.

In other business, Police Chief Harvey Curry said the department is getting ready to purchase body cameras for officers, but he wanted to wait until he attends the Police Chief convention in Starkville on Dec. 11-15. He said the prices would be better than what has been previously quoted.

The board also instructed Curry to go ahead and get Secure Network to repair the department’s network system. While Curry wanted to enter into a $500 monthly agreement to service the server, the board told him to get the server repaired and then investigate alternatives to getting the server permanently fixed whether with Secure Network or BBI, which the city has an annual contract of $7,710 contract for software maintenance and $12,130 annual contract for hardware maintenance.

The board also will pay Foster, Jones & Associates $3,033.09 for the rail spur project when funds become available and $6,244.10 to Engineering Services for the Newton Economic Development Industrial Access Road Improvement project.

Public works is considering options to improve the lighting on Scanlan Street after receiving complaints about the roadway being dark at night.