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Jonesboro Property Maintenance Code to start in March

Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin says a newly passed Property Maintenance Code will not go into effect until March.  Perrin made the announcement during a press conference, just days after he broke the tie to approve the proposal during Tuesday night’s city council meeting.  The code had been the subject of much controversy over a period of at least six weeks, where both sides adamantly expressed their views about the code.  Supporters say they wanted the code to help reduce dilapidated and neglected pieces of property.  Opponents say they were afraid of the interior requirements, as well as the possibility of code enforcement officers from the city coming into citizens’ homes.  Perrin told the media at a press conference that the moratorium starts in January.

"That means that it will be 60-days after January 15.  We think this will give us plenty of time to address the concerns of citizens about the code and why it is needed."

He says he is hopeful to start education campaigns from now until March and explain what the code is, as well as why it is needed and how it will be implemented.  He tells what he has to do immediately.

"The code requires that I establish an appeal board.  The ordinance says that there needs to be at least 3 people on the board.  I will push for 5 people and 2 alternates." 

Lt. Todd Nelson is director of Jonesboro’s Quality of Life and Code Enforcement Department.  He says there will be meetings and opportunities for people to ask questions about the code, as well as citizens to call city hall.  He tells why the education component is needed

"We think that in this process there was a lot of misinformation about this code that needs to be clarified and we can use this time to talk about what the code is and how we intend to enforce it."

One main concern was that people on fixed incomes who couldn’t repair their homes would be subject to fines and jail time for not being about to afford maintenance.  Nelson addresses that concern.

"We will use this time to get in touch with churches and charitable organizations about how we can help those who are on fixed incomes to make sure their homes are compliant through the code."

Todd Nelson.  Mayor Perrin says the city will develop educational programs for home owners, renters, and landlords about the code.  Some opponents of the code say they plan to put the code on the November 2016 ballot for citizens to vote on the code.