The City of Vineland’s effort to remove signs posted on city utility poles, traffic signals and trees may be working.
"It was a big problem. It was a nuisance. It doesn't look good for the city, the image is not good," said Mayor Ruben Bermudez.
The Mayor says city employees and even residents have begun to keep an eye out for what the city calls "bandit ads." Officials say after warnings are issued, the violators could face fines of $1,000 a day.
"They let them know this is working and what they can look forward to,” said Bermudez.
“They might have to go to court, they might have to see a judge about this so they're catching on that you can't do this in our city."
The Mayor says violators have been cooperative and only warnings have been issued thus far.
"We had to do something and now we're seeing it’s starting to work."
As for Vineland residents, some think the initiative is really working to improve the city's image. Others however worry that the crackdown could hurt a legitimate small businesses' ability to advertise.
"I haven't even noticed one,” said resident Jefry Herrera.
"It makes it look cleaner. The city does need to look better also."
"I don't think its really harming anybody, its just people trying to get their business out and stuff like that," said Latifah Fuqua of Vineland.
But Mayor Bermudez says the ads do have the potential to harm people and hopes that this initiative cuts down on possible scams.
"We have businesses here, legitimate businesses that pay taxes. Then we have people that come from somewhere trying to get business and it’s not right," said the Mayor.
Our drive around Vineland only found a few signs and calls to those businesses were not returned. While some people may think the city should focus on other things, officials say this is just a small part of a larger plan to change how people think of Vineland.
"They realize its time to change and we're adhering to it" said Bermudez.
Officials say the effort to remove signs also ties into the city's plan to demolish run down and abandoned buildings in the hopes of bringing more visitors to Vineland.
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