ITALY

Italy Mayor Jackie Cate said the city hadn’t enforced their code of ordinances in quite some time. That will change as soon as next week.

On Tuesday, Feb. 12, the Italy City Council and Police Department will host a town hall to announce their intention to crack down on code enforcement within the city. Cate said notices have already been sent out for violations regarding tall grass, livestock and junk vehicles, but after the town hall, the city will have a stricter oversight on code violations within the city limits.

“We’re trying to beautify our city,” Cate remarked. “The high grass, the weeds, the couches, things sitting around - it’s all to make Italy a better place. It’s something that needs to be addressed.”

Cate said that Italy Police oversaw code violations in the past, but enforcement kept getting put on the back burner due to the department’s other duties and responsibilities.

“It just didn’t get done,” Cate remarked. “It’s not on any one individual in this city. There just weren’t enough people to address it.”

To meet the code enforcement needs, Cate delegated that two police officers from the department get certified by the state through a code enforcement course. Italy Police Lt. Guy Saxon said Italy Police Chief Scott Peters would be the first to get certified, while the second officer would get certified at a later date.

“We’ve never really had a code enforcement officer,” Saxon expressed. “But we’re going to enforce the codes that the city council has passed. It could be anything, from not getting permits, to anything construction-based. We’re going to start taking care of it.”

According to Italy’s code of ordinances, the grass is not allotted to grow on an owner’s property any higher than 10 inches. It is also unlawful by city standards to keep more than two head of livestock on an enclosure less than one acre in the city, as well as to park a junked vehicle visible anywhere from a public place or a designated right-of-way.

Penalties for junk vehicle violations can include fines anywhere between $500 and $2,000.

Cate said he looks forward to the town hall meeting, where expectations could be made clear to his constituents.

He also hopes to elicit feedback from residents as well on how they can comply with the code of ordinances and what other changes will be made with enforcement going forward.

“We want to talk with the people and make sure they understand before you start sending out letters, get them on board,” he remarked. “It’s kinda like a ‘State of the Union.’”

The town hall meeting will be 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12 at Mount Gilead Church, located at 300 Harris Street. To learn more about Italy’s code enforcement, go online at ci.italy.tx.us.