2013 Mississippi Code
Title 21 - MUNICIPALITIES
Chapter 19 - HEALTH, SAFETY, AND WELFARE
§ 21-19-11 - Determination that property or parcel of land is menace; notification to property owner; hearing; cleaning private property; cost and penalty as civil debt against property owner; appeal


MS Code § 21-19-11 (2013) What's This?

(1) To determine whether property or parcel of land located within a municipality is in such a state of uncleanliness as to be a menace to the public health, safety and welfare of the community, a governing authority of any municipality shall conduct a hearing, on its own motion, or upon the receipt of a petition signed by a majority of the residents residing within four hundred (400) feet of any property or parcel of land alleged to be in need of the cleaning. Notice shall be provided to the property owner by:

(a) United States mail two (2) weeks before the date of the hearing mailed to the address of the subject property and to the address where the ad valorem tax notice for such property is sent by the office charged with collecting ad valorem tax; and

(b) Posting notice for at least two (2) weeks before the date of a hearing on the property or parcel of land alleged to be in need of cleaning and at city hall or another place in the municipality where such notices are posted.

Any notice required by this section shall include language that informs the property owner that an adjudication at the hearing that the property or parcel of land is in need of cleaning will authorize the municipality to reenter the property or parcel of land for a period of one (1) year after the hearing without any further hearing if notice is posted on the property or parcel of land and at city hall or another place in the municipality where such notices are generally posted at least seven (7) days before the property or parcel of land is reentered for cleaning. A copy of the required notice mailed and posted as required by this section shall be recorded in the minutes of the governing authority in conjunction with the hearing required by this section.

If, at such hearing, the governing authority shall adjudicate the property or parcel of land in its then condition to be a menace to the public health, safety and welfare of the community, the governing authority, if the owner does not do so himself, shall proceed to clean the land, by the use of municipal employees or by contract, by cutting grass and weeds; filling cisterns; removing rubbish, dilapidated fences, outside toilets, dilapidated buildings, personal property, which removal of personal property shall not be subject to the provisions of Section 21-39-21, and other debris; and draining cesspools and standing water therefrom. The governing authority may by resolution adjudicate the actual cost of cleaning the property and may also impose a penalty not to exceed One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($ 1,500.00) or fifty percent (50%) of the actual cost, whichever is more. The cost and any penalty may become a civil debt against the property owner, or, at the option of the governing authority, an assessment against the property. The "cost assessed against the property" means either the cost to the municipality of using its own employees to do the work or the cost to the municipality of any contract executed by the municipality to have the work done, and administrative costs and legal costs of the municipality. For subsequent cleaning within the one-year period after the date of the hearing at which the property or parcel of land was adjudicated in need of cleaning, upon seven (7) days' notice posted both on the property or parcel of land adjudicated in need of cleaning and at city hall or another place in the municipality where such notices are generally posted, and consistent with the municipality's adjudication as authorized in this subsection (1), a municipality may reenter the property or parcel of land to maintain cleanliness without further notice or hearing no more than six (6) times in any twelve-month period with respect to removing dilapidated buildings, dilapidated fences and outside toilets, and no more than twelve (12) times in any twenty-four-month period with respect to cutting grass and weeds and removing rubbish, personal property and other debris on the land, and the expense of cleaning of the property shall not exceed an aggregate amount of Twenty Thousand Dollars ($ 20,000.00) per year, or the fair market value of the property subsequent to cleaning, whichever is less. The governing authority may assess the same penalty for each time the property or land is cleaned as otherwise provided in this section. The penalty provided herein shall not be assessed against the State of Mississippi upon request for reimbursement under Section 29-1-145, nor shall a municipality clean a parcel owned by the State of Mississippi without first giving notice.

(2) If the governing authority declares, by resolution, that the cost and any penalty shall be collected as a civil debt, the governing authority may authorize the institution of a suit on open account against the owner of the property in a court of competent jurisdiction in the manner provided by law for the cost and any penalty, plus court costs, reasonable attorney's fees and interest from the date that the property was cleaned.

(3) (a) If the governing authority does not declare that the cost and any penalty shall be collected as a civil debt, then the assessment above provided for shall be a lien against the property and may be enrolled in the office of the circuit clerk of the county as other judgments are enrolled, and the tax collector of the municipality shall, upon order of the board of governing authorities, proceed to sell the land to satisfy the lien as now provided by law for the sale of lands for delinquent municipal taxes.

(b) (i) All assessments levied under the provisions of this section shall be included with municipal ad valorem taxes and payment shall be enforced in the same manner in which payment is enforced for municipal ad valorem taxes, and all statutes regulating the collection of other taxes in a municipality shall apply to the enforcement and collection of the assessments levied under the provisions of this section, including utilization of the procedures authorized under Sections 17-13-9(2) and 27-41-2.

(ii) All assessments levied under the provisions of this section shall become delinquent at the same time municipal ad valorem taxes become delinquent. Delinquencies shall be collected in the same manner and at the same time delinquent ad valorem taxes are collected and shall bear the same penalties as those provided for delinquent taxes. If the property is sold for the nonpayment of an assessment under this section, it shall be sold in the manner that property is sold for the nonpayment of delinquent ad valorem taxes. If the property is sold for delinquent ad valorem taxes, the assessment under this section shall be added to the delinquent tax and collected at the same time and in the same manner.

(4) All decisions rendered under the provisions of this section may be appealed in the same manner as other appeals from municipal boards or courts are taken.

(5) Nothing contained under this section shall prevent any municipality from enacting criminal penalties for failure to maintain property so as not to constitute a menace to public health, safety and welfare.

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