Mayor Erin E. Stewart has announced the creation of a new procedure, by which the city will handle complaints for blighted properties, and other health and building code violations.
This process will act as the primary trigger for the City’s Clean and Lien program and will leverage new technology to create a series of checks and balances to ensure that City Ordinances are being efficiently, effectively and equitably enforced.
The process starts with the filing of a complaint by an individual with the Health and Building Department. At that time, the complaint will be entered into the ViewNforce software system, a case will be opened, and an inspector will be assigned. The property at-issue will be inspected within three business days of the case being opened. If it is determined that there is no violation, the case will be closed. If a violation is found, a ticket will be issued electronically via the ViewNforce system, which will automatically generate a violation letter to the property owner.
The owner then has ten business days to remedy the violation, at which time the property will be re-inspected. If the violation has still not been cured, the property will be referred to the Clean and Lien program, where the City will go in, remedy the situation, and then place a lien on the property for the cost of that remedy. The case will then be sent for collection and, ultimately, closed.
“It is time this City’s government stopped simply talking about blight and started doing something about it,” Mayor Stewart said. “We already have good, strong ordinances on the books to deal with the issue. What we need is a system to enforce them so that we get results.”
The Mayor continued, “The ViewNForce software had been purchased by the previous administration, but it had not been implemented in a way that was useful. This new procedure will optimize the system and streamline the entire process so that complaints are handled expeditiously and with maximum accountability for both the violator and City inspectors.”
Previously Mayor Tim O’Brien stopped the Clean and Lien program and instead tried to install a fee on landlords. He first said it was a money grab and then changed it to say it was to fight blight.
Stewart said the new procedure she is putting in place will not make the City money.
“What it is going to generate is a clean City,” said Stewart. “At this point that means more to me. I have high hopes.”
The Mayor has begun working with City officials to begin implementation of this new system which may come as early as next week.