At the last commission meeting the engineer stated that the city workers are responsible for mowing the city’s property and an outside agency is assigned to all other properties, but it seems everything is complaint driven before the city can take any action. The city is aware of the same noncompliant property owners who fail to comply year after year, so why don’t notices go out to the property owners before the grass gets to be four foot tall waiting for a complaint to be filed?
The city has landlords who will continue to get away with neglecting their property until code enforcement comes knocking at their door forcing them to clean up their property. Why should the landlords spend any more money than they have to on their property? If the code enforcement is not strict enough, the landlords quickly catch on by continuing to set up shop in our city while the word quickly spreads that the city is soft on enforcement.
It is the same thing with the trash cans sitting out in front of the properties. A rental can be easily recognized because most of the rentals have trash cans permanently positioned in front or at the side of the property. The initiative of walking the trash can to the back yard is lacking. Sometimes the trash can is not taken out to the curb for weeks causing the trash to mount up before taking it to the curb.
How does the city break the chain of repeated offenders who are costing the city time and money trying to get property owners to correct the violations? I would like to see a surcharge implemented if more than two inspections are needed, or if repeated complaints are made on the same property within a year’s time. The surcharges would be over and above the fines that could be placed on the owner. The surcharge should be stiff enough to encourage the property owner to swiftly address the violations without the city having to repeatedly coax and plead with the property owner to correct the violation. When there are repeated calls to the same property, it takes time away from other properties that need attention and the backlog of inspections continues to grow out of control.
The code enforcement policies need to be revised and staff should be given the tools (software programs) it needs to expedite the case load to track the violations a lot better. Properties should be
tracked by computer so anything about the property can be quickly accessed. Code enforcement is a good source of revenue but only if the city can properly organize and manage it well.
Something is very wrong when rentals in the city make up an overwhelming majority of housing. The high percentage of rentals is slowly driving out what is left of the extinct breed of home ownership in Sandusky. It is unacceptable to have to live next door to property that is not being maintained. The city needs to get its priorities straight and get aggressive in maintaining the town so it can rightfully take on the title of “Sandusky Proud”.