HOXIE, AR (KAIT) - The city of Hoxie has a new property maintenance code ordinance after the city council meeting Tuesday night.
The new ordinance is very similar to the old code but has adjustments for the city to combat repeat offenders.
It states that people can't have tall grass, garbage, inoperable vehicles, stagnant water, or other unsanitary conditions on their property.
Mayor Lanny Tinker said they would have people who would clean up their property in the number of days allowed after a warning but would not keep it clean.
"And then they wouldn't do anything until we came back again," Tinker said. "So we had repeat offenders that kept doing that over and over again."
Now, there are harsher penalties even if they comply with the first and second warnings.
"At the third notice they're designated as a habitual offender," Tinker said. "They'll have to go into court, and then there's a series of fines, depending on whatever the judge says, that will be levied at those folks there. So that's an enticement, an encouragement for folks there to clean up and stay cleaned up."
The new code also gives the city of Hoxie the ability to become the first lien holder on a property if they clean it up for an absentee owner.
"The process in the past, when the city of Hoxie deemed that a nuisance and went through the process to get it cleaned up and the city would actually go in and do the work, but we were the second lien holders on that," Tinker said. "So, when that property did sell, it was about worth the value of the lot and the city didn't get anything out of that."
The new process means the city can at least make back their cleanup costs if the property is sold.
The ordinance also shortened the amount of time a person has to clean up a property after being notified.
Tinker said the city just wants to keep property owners accountable and maintain the town's property value.
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