County commission cracking down on litter, junk

Published 7:16 pm Monday, January 28, 2008

By By Lisa Tindell
Escambia County officials are beginning to assess properties that are in violation of the county’s new litter and junk ordinances.
And after a vote Jan. 14, the Escambia County Commission is one step closer to handing out citations for those who don’t clean up their messes.
In a unanimous vote, the commission approved forms to be used for issuing citations for violations of the county’s litter and junk ordinances.
The possible need for tweaking was echoed by commission chairman David Stokes.
The citation form will be one way the commission can show progress in its ability to clean up Escambia County.
When the commission adopted the two ordinances in October of last year, guidelines were established concerning items defined as junk and litter. The ordinances became effective Jan. 1.
The county defines junk as old or scrap copper, brass, rope, rags, batteries, paper trash, rubber debris, waste or junked, dismantled or wrecked automobiles or parts thereof, iron steel and other old or scrap ferrous or nonferrous material.
The ordinance further states that waste or junked, dismantled or wrecked automobiles can be any vehicle, including travel trailers, mobile homes, motor homes, motorcycles, boats and buses, which is deemed inoperable, without valid license or license plates or extensively damaged, including damaged windows, missing wheels, motors, tires, transmission or other major parts or has a fair market value equal only to the approximate value of the scrap in it.
The commission identified litter as being rubbish, refuse, waste material, garbage, dead animals or fowl, paper, glass, cans, bottles, trash, scrap metal, debris or any foreign substance of whatever kind and description and whether or not it is of value.
The citation forms approved by the commission will be issued to violators of either ordinance beginning immediately.
Nancy Barton, the ordinance enforcement officer, has already begun to assess violations of the ordinances throughout the area, county administrator Tony Sanks said.
The ordinance allows for citations to be issued and fines levied against property owners where junk or litter has been identified.
A citation will be issued for violations and will hold the property owner responsible for a $150 fine with a 30-day notice to eliminate the nuisance and avoid further fines. Failure to remove the nuisance after 30 days will result in an additional fine of $150 per day with a maximum of $5,000 in fines. If the owner does not clear the nuisance within 30 days of the notice, an officer will have the authority to remove the nuisance items and assess fees for removal as well as additional fines. All fines and citations carry an administrative fee as well.
In other business during Monday’s meeting the commission:

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