Code officers headed to NPDPublished 12:01am Monday, July 16, 2012
NATCHEZ — Mayor Butch Brown said the planning department’s two code enforcement officers will soon be moving to the police department, and the city will be cracking down on overgrown lots, dilapidated housing and other unsightly issues.
Collecting fines for code violations, Brown said, is currently a long and drawn-out process that involves giving the violator notice and having the board of aldermen adjudicate lots.
“The method behind my madness, or I guess the madness behind my method, is that I want to be able to generate funds to be used to address demolition by neglect or grass-cutting,” Brown said.
Natchez Public Works, Brown said, is not currently staffed or equipped to handle the demands for demolition or grass-cutting for overgrown lots.
Brown said the city is going to have to generate more money to keep up with the demands, and he said he believes the answer is moving the code enforcement officers to the police department where they can write citations.
Brown said once more funds are generated by fines paid by code violators, the city can use that money to contract out grass cutting or demolition work and relieve some of public works’ work load.
Code enforcement officer Willie B. Jones said he agrees that code enforcement should be handled at the police department.
“That is where it should be; that’s where it used to be,” Jones said. “With the police and the code enforcement officers working together, we’ll be able to really clean up the city.”
Brown said he is currently working with City Attorney Hyde Carby on the logistics of moving the code enforcement officers to NPD.
Brown said he has yet to decide if the code enforcement officers will have offices at NPD or remain at the planning department.
“That’s a good question, we need to keep them somewhere where we can watch them, and they need to be in close proximity to the police officers, so they can advise the police officers on code enforcement issues,” he said.