HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - Mondays are always busy for Hollywood Code Enforcement Officer Irish Gardner.
He spends most it collecting a weekend's worth of snipe signs from the city's main thoroughfares. Snipe signs are the small advertising signs posted illegally along South Florida roads.
"This time of the year, it's tax people. Other times, is real estate or computer repair. It varies", Gardner said.
The problem is, it's illegal to post the small, printed signs on public right of way. It's a violation of the city code, but that doesn't stop some business owners from littering the roadway. It's a cheap way to advertise, but by the end of the day, most of them end up in the trunk of Gardner's cruiser.
He said sometimes he'll pick up a sign, and the very next day somebody will come along and put a copy of the same sign back in the same location. The city of Hollywood is tired of cleaning up the mess and wants to send a message to the street-side violators.
Beginning this week, the city will start sending a robo-call to violators, up to 20 times a day.
"Commercial signs displaying this phone number were illegally placed in the public rights-of-way in Hollywood in violation of the city code. You will continue to receive phone calls with this message until the signs are removed," the telephone message says.
Hollywood Mayor Peter Bober came up with the idea and said it's pretty easy to track down the litterers.
"It's very unusual for people to be committing crimes and leaving their calling cards with their phone numbers on it. Since they want us to call the number, we are going to call the number, and we're going to call it up to 20 times a day," Bober said.
Violators will have to go to the police station and fill out a form to get off the robo-call list. When they do, they'll be slapped with a $75 fine for the first offense.
The program officially starts Wednesday, which means business owners who rely on snipe signs in Hollywood to attract their customers could soon be wishing their phones would stop ringing.
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