Volunteer codes inspectors hesitant to testify

broken-windowCitizens upset about code violations are willing to attack, up to a point.

The use of volunteer codes enforcers has not taken off because the citizens do not want to appear in court to testify, officials said Tuesday.

City Manager Troy Schulte said the volunteers are concerned about angering their neighbors.

He said they take the position, “I’m all in favor of turning in my neighbors until I have to go to court.”

City officials need to find ways around this impediment, Schulte said. “We’ve got to figure out a way to shield them if we’re going to do this.”

At the same time, property code violations  make up the largest volume of calls to the city 311 action line. And 46 percent of citizens say they are dissatisfied with exterior home maintenance, 41 percent are dissatisfied with enforcing mowing and weed cutting, and 40 percent are dissatisfied with enforcing clean up of litter and debris on private property.

Neighborhood leaders want to find and use new tools to attack such problems, Schulte said.

Mayor Sly James agreed: “There seem to be a lot of people who want to do stuff but don’t know how to access what they want to do.”

And they apparently don’t want open legal warfare with the neighbors.


  1. mouse says:

    I’d rather have a messy neighbor than a clean neighbor who doesn’t like me.

  2. Mary Byrne says:

    Why don’t you use volunteers from other neighborhoods and then they wouldn’t get in trouble with their neighbors? The volunteers could switch neighborhoods.

  3. If someone makes a complaint about a code violation, isn’t that enough to bring in a code inspector? And if the code inspector verifies that this is a legitimate complaint, thqt it is not a “nuisance” complaint or a vitriolic attack on a neighbor for no reason, why cant the city proceed with notifying the offender? Why can’t the inspector check back in a reasonable amount of time to see if the code violation has been corrected? Give the offenders a second or maybe even a third chance to clear up the violation. Take lots of pictures. And if all that fails to remedy the situation, start issuing fines. Why is it necessary for this to go to court? The issue should not be between neighbors but between code violators and the city.

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