Miami officials and residents push for stricter digging regulations

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“It seems like they always think the city did it,” explained Miami Street Department Manager Robert Barger. “They always call us and say, ‘You guys left us a hole in the alley!’ And in more ways than one, it’s someone else.”

Joyce Hickam is one of several residents in Miami feeling the burden of this–people digging up alleys, streets, or easements owned by the city and just leaving it.

“Well, the ones that came into redo the gasoline left a big hole in the alley. They promised they would fix it and shoved the dirt back over. but left a pile of dirt up there, a pile of dirt over here, and you can still see some of it on the grass,” Hickam explained.

And now, she says there are wasps in the area.

Hickam was told by the company it would be fixed, but it never was.

“Then, with this big hole, there was no way to go around it,” Hickam continued. “You have to go right through it and it stunk. We had mosquitoes and my truck smells where you drive through the water.”

“They’re hanging around to try and get mud daubers to get moisture,” Hickam added. “We don’t need that and there’s kids that go up and down the alley and they don’t need that.”

So, the City of Miami is taking action, amending an ordinance that would force contractors and residents to now get a permit with the public works department before beginning their projects.

That will help the city know who is digging where, so they can be held accountable.

“We spent many hours fixing spots in the alleys, streets, or maybe in someone’s yard where a company came in did some utility work and just left, and no one knew they were even here,” Barger explained.

The city has had an ordinance for several years, although it’s not been followed by some contractors and residents.

“It ends up costing the city several thousands of dollars a year,” said Barger. “The ag base uses limestone to fill up the hole.”

People caught not following the changed ordinance will now face a $500 fine.

They could also be prohibited from working in city limits in the future.

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