OB aldermen cover blight issues, GPS monitoring

The Olive Branch Board of Aldermen this week addressed an issue that Mayor Ken Adams believes will help deter blight and home disrepair in his city.  

The board approved a Property Maintenance Ordinance at Tuesday’s board meeting that covers all homes in the city, not just rental properties. Board members voted for the ordinance on Adams’ recommendation. 

Under the ordinance, if blight or disrepair of a property is determined, the owner or landlord is now subject to a $500 fine per occurrence. 

“It treats every house the same,” Adams said. “We get calls a lot of times about rental homes and just by nature of them being a rental home, it’s not really a concern for most citizens. But the concern is the condition of the home that lowers the property value. They’re not so concerned about who’s in the house as in the condition of the house.”

In the case of property owners who live elsewhere, a subpoena would be sent to the owner. Adams said rental owners typically have a “person of process” to receive a service like that. 

But the mayor said protection of property values in the vicinity and appearance is behind the property maintenance ordinance.  

“Our citizens should not have to be looking at an eyesore and they don’t want their property value hurt because someone else is not keeping up their property,” said Adams. “The city just cares that the homes look good in the neighborhood. We want the outside to be positive and add to the neighborhood and not detract from the neighborhood.”

GPS MONITORING FOR FIREARMS CHARGES: Tuesday’s board meeting also covered a new standing order from Olive Branch Municipal Court Judge Hugh Armistead regarding those out on bond awaiting trial on firearms charges.  

In all Olive Branch Municipal Court cases where a defendant is accused of brandishing or firing a firearm, that defendant will now be required to wear a GPS monitoring device until the case is heard in court.  

The GPS monitoring system will determine where the defendant is at all times. Adams, who previously was a municipal court judge before becoming the Olive Branch mayor, said the move is a 100 percent proactive one.  

“Unfortunately sometimes when you see someone out on bond for a firearms-related charge, they pick up another firearms-related charge,” Adams said. “Everyone is entitled to bond unless it is a capital offense. We want a way to monitor where they are, so if they’re not supposed to go near a certain person or area, we know where they are.”

The person would be wearing an ankle bracelet or a similar device to allow law enforcement to know their whereabouts at any given time.  The order covers all misdemeanors and felonies in Olive Branch as a condition of bond or bail. 

The order includes instances where a person is under house arrest. The defendant would have to cover the cost of the device usage.  

Any violation of the standing order would be considered as a contempt of court charge.  

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