County's Code Enforcement Officer Malone works to make Carter County clean

By Lesley Jenkins
Star Staff

The No. 1 goal of Craig Malone, Carter County code enforcement officer, is to make the county more pleasing to the eyes of people traveling in it, and he is making progress into reaching that goal. The response from citizens asked to clean up their yards and houses is becoming faster.
   "The litter law is working. We are getting a lot of response from it," said Malone. "It is going to take a long time to get everything cleaned up, if we ever do get everything cleaned up."
   It took only a week and a half for a dilapidated building to be completely cleaned up on King Springs Road. Malone said he took the required steps by sending a letter describing why the property wasn't in compliance.
   "The violations were dilapidated structure and overgrowth of vegetation," said Malone. All letters sent out in violation of the county's Litter Law Resolution are sent by certified mail to ensure that the recipient accepts the letter.
   Pictures are taken before the property is cleaned up. Malone drove by the area almost a week and half later and saw that the property was already cleaned up and under accordance with the resolution. The owner of the property completely destroyed the building that was once used to sell fireworks. A car accident damaged the building years ago.
   There are a few property owners that have received letters and have not made any progress in compliance, Malone said. The letter allows 30 days to comply and then Malone will appear before the Carter County Planning Commission. The commission will make a decision about whether to extend the deadline to comply or to send the case to chancery court. "What I would like to see is people cleaning up without me making them," Malone added.
   The litter enforcement resolution was passed by the Carter County Commission on Mar. 25, and strives to eliminate overgrowth of trees, vines, grass, underbrush, accumulation of debris, trash, litter or garbage, which could endanger the health, safety and welfare of other citizens.
   These areas are in danger of encouraging the infestation of rats and other harmful pests. During the summer months, this type of area can also encourage the breeding of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes pose a risk to humans by carrying the West Nile Virus. The virus has been positively identified in neighboring Johnson and Washington counties in blue jays and crows.