Treat Codes Compliance Assistance Department as a budget priority
"As mayor, I will ... support staff and treating our Codes Compliance Assistance Department as a budget priority. As we continue to emerge from the economic downturn and related budget cuts, we must look to restore funding to the areas that were hit the hardest, and that includes Codes."
Kriseman want to expand number of inspectors in 2015
Updated: Thursday, June 12th, 2014 | By Joshua Gillin
As part of his mayoral campaign, Rick Kriseman promised to help clean up St. Petersburg.
The city's Codes Compliance Assistance Department is a big part of that. Its workers keep tabs on everything from improper signage to yard maintenance to reporting abandoned housing so it can be secured. Their work became especially difficult during Bill Foster's mayoral tenure because the recession left more homes vacant and some owners indifferent about the condition of their properties.
A big hit to the department occurred in 2007, when then Mayor Rick Baker reduced staff by roughly 25 percent, eliminating eight of 30 code inspectors, as well as two technicians and two supervisors.
The department's remaining 22 compliance officers are currently handling about 7,000 code violations cases across the city.
Kriseman plans to add three more officers to the ranks in his fiscal year 2015 budget proposal, said city spokesman Ben Kirby. If approved, it would be the first expansion since Baker's cuts seven years ago.
Kriseman is slated to give his budget to the City Council by July 1. The council must pass a budget by Sept. 18, ahead of the fiscal year beginning in October.
Kriseman plans to add positions and funding to the codes department, but because it's only a proposal for now, we rate this promise In The Works.
Tampa Bay Times, "St. Petersburg sign sleuth takes down illegal ads, rakes in fines," Aug. 29, 2005
Tampa Bay Times, "As vacant houses increase in St. Petersburg, so do worries, crime," July 3, 2009
Tampa Bay Times, "Code cuts: Ugly News?" Aug. 12, 2007, accessed via Nexis June 10, 2014
Tampa Bay Times, "Working its way out of a code conundrum," June 7, 2006, accessed via Nexis June 10, 2014
Interview with Benjamin Kirby, mayor's communications director, June 9-12, 2014