Saturday, October 31, 2015

City of Lake Worth beefing up its Code Enforcement Department after being gutted by previous city commission

It's taken a while since former City Manager Susan Stanton gutted the Code Enforcement Dept. and it's taken a herculean effort to bring it back to a level of effectiveness. It was a terrible mistake she made and it's one of the main reasons she was fired in December 2011. Stanton admitted how badly she erred and under whose direction she was acting to a Lake Worth resident who recalled a conversation he had with her:
The image above is from The Obtuse Blogger (TOB) who believes Susan Stanton was the best city manager Lake Worth ever had. Stanton was fired on December 6, 2011.
How much things have changed in under 4 years! A remarkable turnaround for a department that had to be rebuilt after being gutted. In the City's Worth Noting newsletter is this information on the beefed up department. Here is an excerpt:

     For years, bringing properties into compliance with Lake Worth codes has been a challenge. Suffering from 1,000s of vacant, abandoned and foreclosed properties, years of deferred maintenance, and absentee landlords and property owners; the City’s overall character had become severely blighted. [emphasis added] Code Compliance also was attempting to manage hundreds of ongoing violations with properties running in fine to the tune of millions of dollars. The reputation of the Code Compliance Division was tattered and demoralizing.Drastic, proactive, and concerted efforts were required to turn the tide and reinvigorate and revitalize the city.
     Beginning in 2012, the City adopted a series of ordinances (laws) to address the many neglected properties. A Chronic Nuisance Program including Remediation for lot clearings, board & secures and demolitions was adopted. This program allows for the City to recoup its expenditures to undertake these activities by attaching the unpaid costs to the property owner’s tax cards. This attachment guarantees that the City will eventually be paid. The Code Compliance Division was reorganized and appropriately staffed and trained. Today, every officer has a certification from the Florida Association of Code Enforcement (FACE). Proactive positive customer service has become a priority. Other changes were made to streamline and encourage investment in the City and to resolve outstanding code violations. All were systematically implemented to support a full on attack of the deteriorating condition of the city.

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