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Enhanced city code enforcement coming to Smiths Station

SMITHS STATION, Ala. -- Smiths Station has been incorporated since 2001, but starting September 1, those living inside the corporate limits will be provided enhanced enforcement when it comes to certain city codes.

The city currently has one code enforcement officer who provides notices of violation to business and property owners to bring them into compliance. The city says it has done its best to enforce the codes, but has not much success.

In September, the city will partner with the Lee County Sheriff's Office in a limited service agreement to enforce violations of things such as business licenses, abandoned buildings, solid waste and more. Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones said a deputy will be assigned to the city possibly one to two days a month, and it will not affect the day-to-day operations of the office.

Mayor F.L. "Bubba" Copeland said Smiths Station has been a city for 16 years, and it is time that residents abide by rules put forth by the former and current administration to protect the safety and well being of residents.

Mayor Copeland said when someone is in violation, the code enforcement officer will speak with person and either issue a verbal or written warning. All interactions will be recorded on body cameras. From that point, the person will have a certain amount of time to comply. If they do not, a warrant or citation will be delivered by the sheriff's office and code enforcement officer. The person violating the code can either pay the fine at the Lee County Circuit Clerk's Office in Opelika or appear in court at the Smiths Station Government Center. The case would be heard by a district judge, and court would be held at least once a month. Court costs would be $373 on top of any fines that could be imposed.

Mayor Copeland added that this is not about writing tickets. It is about cleaning up the city and bringing it into the future.

"We live in a free country," Mayor Copeland said. "I want to reiterate that point. We live in a free country. However, we live according to rules and laws, and without rules and laws, we have total anarchy. With that being said, we need these rules and regulations in an effort to try and make our city be clean, be safe and make it desirable for people to come to."

Liz Goodson has lived in Smiths Station for more than 40 years. She said she is very excited for the enhanced enforcement.

"We need to get the place cleaned up," Goodson said. "Businesses are not going to want to come here with the place looking trash. If you have people traveling through saying, 'maybe, I'm looking for a small town to retire in.' If they drive through here see a bunch of trash, they are not going to want to stay."

The Lee County Sheriff's Office will continue enforcing general traffic and other county violation enforcement in the city.


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