Long Beach alderman wants full time code enforcement officer - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Long Beach alderman wants full time code enforcement officer

By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - A Long Beach alderman says it's not fair that people who rebuilt their homes after Katrina are living next to constant reminders of hurricane devastation. Alderman Gary Ponthieux of Ward 1 says not enough is being done to force property owners to clean up their overgrown grass, dead trees and broken slabs.

At Tuesday's board meeting, Ponthieux plans to ask the administration to look into possible grants that would allow Long Beach to hire additional staffing.

Their love of Long Beach led Jeanne Whelan and her husband to rebuild their house after Katrina. She said when she looks at what's become of her neighborhood, it breaks her heart.

"There's still dead trees everywhere," said Whelan. "Pools open with debris and leaves. I just find it disheartening. People have moved on. Out of sight. Out of mind. They're not doing anything."

Alderman Ponthieux said his constituents are fed up with overgrown untended lots.

He said, "We need property owners and people that have property here in the city to be respectful of others and clean up their properties adjacent to at least the homes that are being occupied right now."

Ponthieux said Long Beach won't be able to effectively crack down on code violators as long as the city has only one part time employee doing the job.

"We have a person that comes in two days a week and 16 hour a week shift. It's kind of hard to pursue something of that nature," said Ponthieux. 

He said, unfortunately, the city doesn't have the money to hire someone full-time.

"Hopefully through Community Development Block Grant money we can find some funds to help pursue these issues. These properties need to be clean up. They need to be brought before the environmental court. "

Meanwhile, some residents said they want to again take pride in where they live.

"If you were to look through here and see nice clean properties with no slab, you would get the feeling that this was a nice new development and a place that you wanted to live," said Whelan.

"But with the way that it is and the way neighbors have disrespected our city and our neighborhood, it looks something bad has happened. Which it has and it's a constant reminder."

Alderman Gary Ponthieux said he believes the neglected lots are hurting property values and discouraging people from buying houses in the area.

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