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Miami residents will face citations-fines if they don't maintain their yard

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Soon residents in Miami, Oklahoma will face court appearances for letting trash, grass and weeds get away from them thanks to a new city ordinance.

Starting July 1, Miami residents will be expected to keep up with their yards or face some pretty harsh realities.  Some residents like William Tegethoff say the change from written notices to police citations is a welcome one.

"You want people who are coming in to visit, you know they don't want to see all that stuff that's a foot high and yards trashy and stuff like that," says Tegethoff.

Residents who receive the citation will be required to show up in court, resulting in a fine as low as $0 and as high as $750 per day, depending on the situation.

"We're not looking at pursuing ordinary folks with ordinary problems, we're talking about folks who simply won't take care of their responsibilities," says city attorney David Anderson.

According to the city those responsibilities include keeping grass and weeds in yards under one foot long and clear of excessive trash.

The city says the ordinance is based off of a wider state statue and that it will apply for homes, lots and businesses.  In the case of rental property, it is the renter who will receive the citation.

Not everyone in Miami is pleased with the change.

"Grass - people do the best they can," says Miami resident Melissa Read.  "Some people out there, they don't own lawn mowers, they can't afford to pay someone to mow their yard for them or nothing."

The city says discretion will be used and it's not the elderly or poor being targeted.

"People are concerned that it will be a police state mentality, that we're the 'lawn mower police' now, and that's not true," says Anderson.

Tegethoff says the old way proved ineffective and is excited to see the city push residents to take pride in their yards.

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