Trashy Yards, Porches Could Cost Muskogee Residents

Monday, April 11th 2011, 11:27 am
By: News On 6

Emily Baucum, News On 6

MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma -- It's a city beautification project with a twist. Your trash could leave you forking over your treasure in one Green Country town.

Muskogee Police are ticketing homeowners with trash littering their yards and cars parked on the lawn.

What constitutes dilapidated property?

With a mountain of trash along the curb and a burned-out car in the driveway, Mitzi Chumney knows her yard's an eyesore.

"The city's supposed to come pick it up. I have to make an appointment for that," she said. "I don't approve of the way my house looks at the moment."

She says several neighbors were ticketed for junk in the yard and cars parked on the grass.  Chumney's barking mad about it and afraid she's next.

"I paid for this property," she said. "This is mine. The deed has my name on it. If I want to park my car in my yard then who is them to tell me I can't?"

"You can find them all throughout this city. It's become an issue," Major Regie Cotton, Muskogee Police, said.

One porch was piled high with everything including the kitchen sink. Muskogee police officers are afraid neighborhoods are going down the toilet.

"Businesses, visitors, anyone that comes to our city, whenever they see these things it has a lasting effect on what they think about Muskogee," Major Cotton said.

Officers hope the new law will help make Muskogee attractive to new businesses.

Linda Carter hopes the new laws will make a sweeping change on her block.

"When you have cars, like cars not running, and you have washing machines and old dryers around the home that's not working anymore, you should get rid of it," she said. "You want to keep the neighborhood looking nice."

She wants neighbors to clean up their acts.

"To me it shows what kind of person you are and how you live," Carter said.

Muskogee Police are mostly handing out warnings, but homeowners who are ticketed face harsh penalties. It is usually a cash fine, but some will be charged with misdemeanor crimes and end up in court.