David Helms

Pontotoc Progress

At a called meeting last Friday (May 5) Pontotoc Aldermen addressed several new business items, including enforcement of the city’s property maintenance ordinance which was passed last year.

“We need to start enforcing our property ordinance and I’ve challenged the aldermen to bring me a list of the 10 worst problem spots in their ward and that’s where we’re going to start,” said Pontotoc Mayor Jeff Stafford.

“I’ve walked the town and we’ve probably got 100 spots that need addressing,” Stafford said.

Stafford said that property owners who are in violation of the code will receive written notice of a warning, detailing what issues need addressing.

“They have 10 days to get the problem resolved,” Stafford said. “If nothing is done, they will receive a citation and must appear in city court, where the judge may impose a fine up to $1,000, or even jail time.”

“But once the citation is issued, it’s mandatory the matter be addressed in city court.”

“If the property owner heeds the warning and is actively trying to resolve the problem and making progress, we’ll work with them. But if they don’t want to work with us, they can work with the judge.”

“We’re addressing properties that need mowing, old cars sitting in the front yard, windows boarded up, broken windows, houses that need painting, garbage and junk issues and other situations that constitute a public nuisance,” Stafford said.

Stafford said this applies to all properties, including rental property.

In another matter, aldermen voted unanimously to advertise for applications for the city clerk’s position.

Current city clerk Dexter Warren has informed city officials he plans to retire soon.

“We’re going to consider in-house applicants and outside applicants,” Stafford said. “The clerk’s job covers a lot of territory and is more complicated than ever before with payroll and insurance issues, so it’s important to be addressing that issue quickly.”

In another matter, the board passed a motion accepting $300,000 in general obligation bonds earmarked for development of a cultural heritage center on the 10-acre First Choice Gateway property which adjoins Tanglefoot Trail in downtown Pontotoc.

“State Representative Mac Huddleston and Senator Nickey Browning helped us secure this grant funding and I’ve told the board I want their input with ideas in how we use the funds out there,” Stafford said.

In a park and rec. matter, aldermen accepted a low bid of $1,327 from Crown Awards for purchase of tournament and t-ball trophies. The other bid submitted was $1,386 from Trophy Depot.

Aldermen also set a public hearing for 6 p.m. on June 6 (next regular meeting) to address a rezoning request from Wilfredo Pereira.

Pereira has requested that property at 399 Hwy 15 South be rezoned from commercial to light industrial status. Pereira expressed his intention to expand his hotel furniture manufacturing business, officials said.

Aldermen also accepted a $2,000 donation which was donated to the Pontotoc Police Department by Walmart of Pontotoc during recent graduation ceremonies at the new Walmart Academy, located at the Super Center.

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