City attorney: Ordinance restricts dates campaign signs can be displayed, even on private property

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 28, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; In an election year, campaign signs crop up faster than spring flowers.

And the race for state and county elected positions now in full swing.

But according to City Attorney Walter Brown, a city ordinance passed in 1993 states that campaign signs can only be displayed in the 60 days before an election and seven days after an election.

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Alderman Theodore &uot;Bubber&uot; West asked Brown in Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting whether those restrictions also apply to campaign signs placed on private property.

&uot;Some large signs can obstruct (motorists’) view,&uot; Brown said, adding that the purpose of the ordinance is to reduce clutter.

Some who were present at the meeting said they believe such restrictions on signs on private property violate free speech and property rights. &uot;Some people have the Rebel flag on their property, Š and that’s their right,&uot; said resident Annie W. Reed. &uot;I pay taxes. It’s my property. My question is, why can’t I put it up if it’s on my property?&uot;

&uot;We will look at the ordinance,&uot; said Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith. &uot;I don’t necessarily agree with it, but that is the way (the ordinance) is now.&uot;

No action was taken on the matter in Tuesday’s meeting.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the board voted to accept a $22,680 bid from Edgin Construction for an erosion control project on College Street.

And aldermen voted to allow Fire Chief Paul Johnson to apply for a $75,000 federal grant for new firefighter gear.

The city would have to come up with a 10 percent match.