Letter to the Editor

Your view: Here's the information

Thursday, September 9, 2004

In response to the SpeakOut comment in the Sept. 2 edition of the Standard Democrat referring to the derelict vehicles in Sikeston, titled "Information please," I appreciate this caller's enthusiasm and concern, but obviously he or she failed to grasp the ordinance fully. That person also called the wrong phone number.

The time period between calling SpeakOut and having a comment printed, and the time period between calling a code officer to respond to a municipal code violation is vastly different.

The Sikeston Code Enforcement Division welcomes any and all citizen input to assist code officers Neighborhood residents are the best source of assistance a code enforcement officer can ask for. It is your town and your neighborhood. Keep in mind, finding code violations is just one of the many tasks of four code enforcement officers.

A vehicle that is viable (runs and drives) but is not licensed or registered has a six-month time period in which to come into compliance. In layman's terms, "keep it tagged!" A sticker is not placed on a six-month vehicle. A picture is taken, information gathered and it is put on a computer watch list. As the time period expires, an alert appears on the officer's computer screen to remind him to re-check the vehicle. If the vehicle is tagged within six months, it is removed from the list. If the owner chooses to ignore the situation, the vehicle is now derelict and will have a sticker placed on it and the owner will go to court.

A vehicle that is inoperable and/or in a state of disrepair will be cited upon discovery and a summons will arrive in the mail for the owner to appear in court. This vehicle will receive a fluorescent orange sticker placed on it immediately.

As far as the accusation of allowing the east side of town to slip through the cracks, that is simply not true. Since Zero Tolerance began May 5 and the first seven-day period ended on May 12, 121 derelict vehicles have been removed from neighborhoods all over town. I have personally dispatched a wrecker 18 times. The rest of the vehicles were abated by their owners. These vehicle numbers reflect only those we are aware of and do not include vehicles moved by owners due to the new ordinance. Yes, a greater number of vehicle violations were found on the west side, but enforcement was not exclusive to any one part of town.

If this caller continues to see vehicles "anywhere on the east side of Sikeston" after Nov. 5, which is the first date a discovered unregistered vehicle is out of compliance, I would hope that person would call the Code Enforcement Department.

I would be happy to visit with this SpeakOut caller or any citizen if this is not enough information.

Trey Hardy, supervisor

City of Sikeston Code Enforcement Division,

Community Redevelopment Coordinator