By Chaning Green, News Writer
Thursday in the Student Union at Ole Miss, three representatives of the city of Oxford came to inform students about the importance of city codes.<>
The purpose of the booth was to make sure students that are currently or will soon be living off campus are aware of all of the ordinances that Oxford residents are required to follow.
Johnny Sossaman is the Code Enforcement Officer for the city of Oxford. Part of his job is to make sure everyone is doing their part to keep the city looking the best that it can.
“We want to welcome students that are moving off campus into the city, but we also want to make sure they know how to be a good neighbor,” Sossaman said. “So we’re here trying to put out a little bit of educational stuff to let people know what services we offer, like how to turn your electricity on, where to get your water from and garbage services. We also want to make sure we keep the city clean and looking nice.”
Sossaman said that one of the main reasons for code violations is that many people, especially students, simply do no know that they are violating codes.
“A lot of the time when you go and knock on people’s doors to talk to them about it, they’re surprised and just want to cooperate,” Ward II Alderman Robyn Tannehill said. “Most of these people aren’t even aware that they’re in violation.”
One of the most common violations Sossaman sees during his day is what is known as an accumulation of trash violation. This ordinance falls under Section 87-25 B, which states, “It shall be unlawful for the owner(s) of any property, or lessee(s) of any property of the city, to allow trash or litter to accumulate upon the property so owned or leased.”
Which means, do not let trash stay in your yard. This ordinance is most frequently violated when people, often students, throw parties and don’t clean up their property the morning after.
However, not every violation results in a citation. It largely depends on the type of violation being reported and how the violator is behaving.
“For example, our noise ordinance says that you cannot have constant noise,” Sossaman elaborated. “[Loud noises are] gonna happen and we understand that it’s gonna happen but we do get complaints. A lot of them are from loud parties in residential areas and we respond to those. We look at these on a case-by-case basis. You’re not automatically gonna get a noise violation citation, but sometimes you will. It all depends on what it is.”
In addition to Sossaman, the booth was also staffed by Recycling Coordinator Michelle Robinson and Business Manager for the Oxford Electric Department Margie Abel.
Robinson was there to inform students of how trash pickup works because it is not as obvious as it seems. The city is divided into two different districts that pick up trash on certain days. There are also certain days of the week dedicated solely to removing yard waste, like leaves and branches.
What day of the week is the proper equipment is used to remove larger waste, like worn out couches and old water heaters? All of these days vary depending on what area of the city you reside in.
Another problem students have when they move off campus for the first time is that they have no idea how to cut their power or water on. To do just that, you just stop by the Electric
Department’s location on McElroy Drive and request an activation form and fill it out. The forms can also be found on the city of Oxford’s website, www.oxfordms.net. Just look under the “Departments” tab and click on “Electric Department.”
Most of the different departments for the city can be followed on Twitter. For example: @OxfordPolice, @cityofoxford and @Oxford_Electric. These departments also have Facebook pages that are used to keep residents up to date on everything from power outages to car wrecks.