City attorney addresses enforcement of property code before special election

City attorney addresses enforcement of property code before special election
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Opponents of the Jonesboro Property Maintenance Code have asked Mayor Harold Perrin to publicly acknowledge that he will not continue to pursue the code until it's gone to a vote.

In February, opponents of the Jonesboro Property Maintenance Code were successful in gathering enough signatures to get the issue on the ballot.

Jonesboro residents will vote on the code May 10.

Monday, attorneys for the group wishing to repeal the property maintenance code sent a letter to Mayor Perrin stating that they believe enforcement of the code before the special election is illegal.

"The city is prohibited under Arkansas Law from enforcing any aspects of this ordinance until it can be ratified or struck down by the residents of the City of Jonesboro," the letter stated.

In the letter, Attorney Travis Story cites Arkansas Code § 14-14-914 (d)(1), which details suspension of force.

"Please take notice that the Petitioner stands ready to take action to prohibit and enforce Arkansas Law as applied to this situation if the City finds it necessary to move forward with the City's plans," the letter states in part.

In a town hall-style meeting about the Jonesboro Property Maintenance Code Monday, City Attorney Carol Duncan addressed the letter.

"What they're referring to is in the Constitution," Duncan said. "It talks about when a referendum has been referred to the public for a vote that it should be held in abeyance."

Abeyance is a state of temporary suspension.

"They're saying abeyance also means you can't enforce it," Duncan said. "I think it's kind of a wash, to be honest. It says you can prepare to enforce it."

Duncan said over the next month, she believes the city will start the process of enforcement.

"They'll get their procedures in place; they'll get everything in place. We'll get the appeal board in place. We may start taking some complaints if people want to make complaints, but I don't anticipate that anything as far as real enforcement of it will happen before the election," Duncan said.

Tuesday, a city council committee will consider appointing five Jonesboro residents to the Jonesboro Property Maintenance Code Board of Appeals.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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