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Attorney named judge for new environmental court

NATCHEZ — Local attorney Anthony Heidelberg has been selected as judge for the city’s new environmental court.

The Natchez Democrat reports 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 had been looking at ways to prosecute litter violation cases faster.

Heidelberg said the court should be up and running in late February. He said the court will be in session the first and third Monday of each month in the Natchez City Council meeting room.

Heidelberg said a prosecutor for the court has not yet been chosen.

City attorney Hyde Carby said the city’s community improvement specialist, Anita Smith, and code enforcement officer Willie B. Jones will serve present evidence of code violations to the court in the meantime.

Carby said the court will eliminate the need for the board of aldermen to adjudicate nuisance properties. He said the city may file tax liens to collect cleanup costs owed by property owners if it chooses.

Carby said violators will be given a certain amount of time to correct problems. If the violation is not corrected, the violator will be served a summons by a Natchez police officer to appear in the environmental court.

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