Gautier Forcing Residents To Clean-Up

City Code Enforcement Agent Ralph Cooper has seen it all when it comes to junk cars and trucks dotting the yards and driveways around Gautier.

"Cars on blocks, cars sitting in the yard or in the driveway with no tag, flat tires, hood open, jacked up for any reason, transmissions out, engines out... None of these are acceptable," Cooper said.

Gautier's campaign to crackdown on derelict vehicles began last month after a city council member pushed for better code enforcement. Since then, Cooper has issued 195 notices of violation, giving the property owner 30 days to move the cars.

"After the 30 days, we research to find out the owner of the property and where the car is located. Then we will issue them a citation to come to court," Cooper said.

With those citations come heavy fines, between $500 and $1,000.

"Most cases that are really flagrant - they're going to be fined a thousand dollars."

Cooper says most residents who were issued notices have complied, but not all of them.

"There's always going to be those few that are going to be like that. And if that's what they want to do, fine. We'll see them in court," Cooper said.

City officials say they need Gautier residents to report immobile cars to help the city take care of the problem.

by Josh Ridgdell