The key to the preservation of property values and the maintenance of neighborhood integrity and attractiveness is property maintenance enforcement. Graffiti, trash, overgrown weeds, structural deficiencies, and vacant buildings are just some of the serious issues that create problems in our neighborhoods. By resolving code violations, our neighborhoods are strengthened and crime incidents decrease. That is why we are committed to fighting back against blight and we will continue to add tools to our tool box.
Since I took office, we added employees to the roster to boost service to the community and in 2019, the City contracted with a certified code consultant and re-trained all the inspectors to improve enforcement consistencies between inspectors. We also created a SOP and enhanced the rental inspection process for greater effectiveness. Additionally, toward the latter part of the year, the City placed an emphasis on structural deficiencies, rather than simply addressing nuisance complaints. In order to accomplish these improvements, the City promoted an inspector to a new full-time supervisory position so that he could oversee code enforcement operations in the department.
During my tenure, we increased the number of new cases opened by more than 172%.
However, there are more than 6,000 rental units in the City, representing about 60% of all housing units. Statistics show that renter-occupied housing units generate more property maintenance complaints than owner-occupied. The department spends a significant amount of time correcting repeat nuisance issues that represent short-term problems. These issues detract from the time that should be spent on major health, safety and structural issues. We should be focusing more on these types of issues because when buildings become dilapidated an entire neighborhood is brought down. When buildings are repaired and maintained the improvement lasts a long time and it has a positive effect on property values. The City is continually spending resources on correcting short-term problems such as grass that is overgrown and we are not using our resources for the most benefit. It is not fair to the taxpayers who don’t have continual nuisance issues to pay for the City’s time to focus on these types of issues. Property owners and property managers need to be held responsible for “managing” their properties and implement real solutions to prevent the grass from getting overgrown and the trash from not being collected. This is an ongoing issue that the City is addressing.