Note: Recently Mayor Wayne Smith Posted this open letter on Facebook. Mayor Smith also shared it with us here at The Texarkana GOP.
My fellow citizens I would like to take this time to discuss an initiative our city is undertaking to make Texarkana, Arkansas a more pleasant and aesthetically appearing community. As I drive about our city there is one noticeable area which distracts from our neighborhoods and community.
There are too many “Junked/Abandoned” vehicles strewn throughout the city in almost every residential neighborhood. Texarkana, Arkansas Code of Ordinance; Chapter 15 – Motor Vehicle and Traffics; Article III – Parking; Division 2. – Abandoned or Junked Vehicles; Sec. 15-69 thru 15-74 specifically identifies the authority our Code Enforcement will follow and utilize to eradicate the nuisance of unsightly and unlawful vehicles within our community.
The Ordinance identifies an abandoned vehicle as “any vehicle left within the city which is dismantled, partially dismantled, wrecked, junked, non-operating, discarded, or without current license”. A vehicle is defined as “A machine propelled by power other than human power designed to travel along the ground by use of wheels, treads, runners or slides and transport persons or property or pull machinery and shall include, without limitation, automobile, truck, trailer, motorcycle, tractor, buggy and wagon”.
A person in charge of, whether owner, tenant, occupant, lessee or otherwise, shall be in violation of this Ordinance by allowing any “dismantled, partially dismantled, wrecked, junked, non-operating, discarded, or without current license” on any property longer than thirty (30) days. This does not apply with regard to a vehicle in an enclosed building. Code Enforcement Officers have jurisdiction and authority to remove or have removed an abandoned vehicle in violation of being left on property in excess of 30 days.
Prior to removing or having an abandoned vehicle Code Enforcement Officers will give written notice the vehicle must be removed within ten (10) days of the mailing of such notice. The notice will be given by:
(1) Affixing notice on the vehicle; and
(2) Sending the notice by mail to the owner of vehicle at last known address –if the owner is reasonably ascertainable; and
(3) Sending notice by mail to the person owning or controlling the property on which vehicle is located.
Once the ten (10) days have expired the vehicle will be removed and impounded.
Code Enforcement Officers are authorized to issue an immediate notice to appear in municipal court. Code Enforcement Officers are empowered to enter upon any premises upon which an abandoned vehicle is kept to demand the exhibition by the owner of such vehicle that it is in fact not. Any refusal to show that the subject vehicle is operable shall be prima facie evidence that the vehicle is in fact abandoned. Code Enforcement Officers may enter the premises where any abandoned vehicle is kept on private property and demand and examine such abandoned vehicle and take possession of such vehicle as allowed in the Ordinance.
No person shall interfere with any city inspector/code enforcement officer of the public works department inspector or enforcement officer of the public works department who may be carrying out or attempting to carry out his normal and reasonable duties hereunder. Interference with a Code Enforcement Officer by use of force, trickery, or deceit, or threaten use of force, otherwise intimidate or attempt to intimidate or otherwise frustrate or thwart the work of a Code Enforcement Officer shall be deemed a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of not less than fifty dollars ($50.00) and not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00).
I am asking every citizen of Texarkana, Arkansas to assist and work with our City Employees to assist in this effort to eliminate and have abandoned vehicles removed from our community. If you have a vehicle which meets the definition of an abandoned vehicle on property you have control of, please remove it before Code Enforcement has it removed. The thirty day (30) time element is starting today. Code Enforcement will be out identifying vehicles and locations and initiate the process of eradicating our city of abandoned vehicles. If you are aware of an abandoned vehicle as defined in our Ordinance notify Code Enforcement at City Hall. Together we can work as a community to make Texarkana, Arkansas a better place for all of us to live.
N. Wayne Smith
Mayor Texarkana, Arkansas