EDITORIAL: Enforcing neighborhood ordinances

By SPECIAL TO THE PRESS REGISTER,

People who choose to live in town give up some choices when they move inside the city limits.

Laws and ordinances let us know what the rules are and are designed to protect the quality of life for the thousands of people – young and old, rich and poor, black and white – who live in town.

Fire codes, health regulations, sewer permits, curfews, speed limits, construction codes and animal ordinances don’t target one person – they apply to us all. And the key word in that phrase is “us.”

Those living in the county and out of sight are allowed to live and pretty much do as they please. Sadly, state and federal regulations tend to be the standard of decency for individual county residents.

But those who choose to live in the city with us must realize they give up a certain amount of choice and independence when they decide to become our neighbors.

Your Clarksdale Press Register has repeatedly said we support the Clarksdale, Lyon and Jonestown when they clean up real estate around town and send the property owner the bill. Taxpayers shouldn’t have to see property values drop because of overgrown lots and abandoned houses.

So we are somewhat puzzled when the municipalities across Coahoma County don’t enforce the ordinances they have on file.

If the ordinance is not a good one, it should be struck from the books.

Do we really want to go after business and industry that are a legitimate eye-sore, when we have houses that a fire-traps and a danger to neighbors? Municipalities literally need to clean up their own back yard first. No one should get special treatment – good or bad.

The city’s desire to help residents and find solutions is commendable. But we urge caution with granting variances that might be seen as favors to friends and voters.

City ordinances and policy should apply to each of us equally and fairly. They are the rules and regulations we all agree to live by if we are going to make this town our home.

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