° empty

There’s a new judge in town

Ben Hillyer | The Natchez Democrat — Anthony Heidelberg, center, with his wife Terri, left, and father Aaron Heidelberg is sworn in by Judge Vincent Davis as new judge of the city’s environmental court.

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez Tuesday officially named the judge of its new environmental court where owners of dilapidated houses, litterbugs and other city code violators will face their violations.

Local lawyer Anthony Heidelberg was officially elected as municipal judge pro tem by the Natchez Board of Aldermen at its regular meeting. Heidelberg was immediately sworn in by Judge Vincent Davis after the board’s unanimous vote.

The environmental court will operate similar to a traffic court and will hear violations for nuisance properties, abandoned vehicles, littering and similar offenses.

The city has been looking at ways to prosecute litter violation cases faster, and the mayor and board of aldermen concluded that the court was the best solution.

The court will eliminate the need for the board of aldermen having to adjudicate nuisance properties. The city, City Attorney Hyde Carby has said, will still have the opportunity to file tax liens to collect clean-up costs owed by property owners, if the city chooses to do so.

In the past, Mayor Butch Brown has said, the city was improperly filing tax liens and was not recouping costs for cleaning up properties.

Carby said the city’s code enforcement staff will identify violations and issue citations as a warning to violators, who will be given a certain amount of time to correct the violation.

If the violation is not corrected, the violator will be served a summons by a Natchez police officer to appear in the environmental court.

The city’s community improvement specialist, Anita Smith, and code enforcement officer Willie B. Jones will serve as the state’s witness to present evidence of code violations to the court, Carby said. Heidelberg said a prosecutor for the court has not yet been chosen.

The court should be up and running by the latter part of February, Heidelberg said. He said court will be at 4:30 or 5 p.m. the first and third Monday of every month in the Natchez City Council Chambers.

Brown has said the city estimates that the court will cost $2,000 to $3,000 a month to operate.

Carby has told the aldermen that the idea is for the court to pay for itself and be a net gain for the city.

 

News

CPSO rules missing person case homicide

News

Adams County supervisors to review ambulance proposals Wednesday

News

Burnley Cook to withdraw from Ward 6 alderman race

News

Viewfinder: Cathedral student starts local health fair

News

Man arrested for Magnolia Grill burglary

News

Photo gallery: Jewish community celebrates Passover with Seder dinner

News

NASD graduation rate up, but still lags behind state average

News

The Dart: Vidalia man studies, takes care of family, too

News

Natchez Early College Academy Fun Day to help raise money for trip to Washington, D.C.

News

Parent University set for Thursday

News

Sunday focus: Voters to determine a quarter million in salaries May 10

News

Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office investigates body found in Monterey

News

County seeking ambulance proposals

News

‘Suzi’s Girls’ remember lasting legacy left by coach

News

Natchez man killed in Ferriday wreck Friday night

News

Photo gallery: The bluff has gone to the DockDogs

News

Tactics in case surrounding alleged attack of parish DA questioned

News

Student charged in verbal assault of teacher

News

City back in court to determine damages in Roundstone case

News

Report: Cuts put school district $1.5M short

News

Faith and Family: R.V.I.C.S. helps Children’s Home

News

Photo gallery: Chalk artist inspired by God creates artwork at First Baptist Church

News

Man previously arrested on rape charges, charged with another sex crime

News

Natchez-Adams School District to pay $127K to former principal