The Oxford Police Department will warn new and returning students about city ordinances they should be aware of as they arrive for the fall semester.
Officers said they have noticed in previous years that each fall, as students leave dormitories for off-campus housing, they usually aren’t familiar with city rules.
For several weeks at the beginning of the fall 2018 semester, code enforcement will visit areas with high student population percentages and post notices of ordinances likely to affect students.
“Most of the ones on the flyer we give out are the main ones students have a problem with,” code enforcement officer Johnny Sossaman said.
The code flyer that officers post lists violations pertaining to junk appliances and vehicles on property, outdoor furniture and parking in front yards. The flyer also reminds residents to turn their vehicles’ wheels to the curb when parking on the street.
Of these ordinances, the most expensive fine is for litter and accumulation of garbage. Excessive amounts of filth of any kind — including cans, paper and other rubbish — on residential properties will cost violators $484 plus assessment costs.
The least-expensive potential fine, which amounts to $195, would be for failure to remove a garbage can or recycling container from the curbside.
“The requirement is that you can put it out at 5 p.m. the day prior to pickup. It must be in by midnight the day of pickup,” Sossaman said. “We don’t like to write a lot of those tickets, but we will.”
If tickets aren’t paid to the city municipal court within a certain time frame, residents may receive additional fines and/or possible jail time.
These codes are enforced uniformly throughout Oxford, and officers said students are not targeted but must follow the same rules as permanent residents.
“We like to talk and make sure everyone understands, but if there are people that we come in contact with several times, it’s pretty much going to be an automatic citation,” code enforcement officer Jeff Edge said.
Officers plan to be lenient for the first couple of weeks as students learn and become acclimated to the ordinances.
Sossaman and Edge are the only two code enforcement officers for the city of Oxford. Currently, they receive supplementary support from Matt Davis, Oxford’s director of parking. Because of Oxford’s steady growth, the department has requested an additional officer for the next fiscal year.
In addition to their daily monitoring duties, these officers approve event and parade permits as well as enforcing building, advertising and fire codes.
Sossaman said the department wants students to understand that Oxford has a family atmosphere.
“A lot of students are living in family homes in family neighborhoods, and we want them to be good neighbors,” Sossaman said. “We want you to have a good experience. This is our home and your temporary home. Be proud of it, and let’s have a good school year.”
The full list of ordinances, along with their associated fines, can be found at OxfordMS.net under the “government” tab.