Code Enforcement

What are you doing to improve the code enforcement issues from last year? How did we get here?

·      During the recession, starting in 2008, there were a glut of foreclosures

·      Banks weren’t taking care of them & residents were angry that their neighborhoods were being degraded

·      We went after the banks aggressively

·      But here’s where the problem happened

·      When the recession was over, no one raised the white flag to go back to our previous “mindset” 

·      You should never treat a resident that same as you’d treat a faulty bank !

Why didn’t the Commission know this was happening?

·      Because we’re not involved in the day to day process of code enforcement

·      The City Attorney, the Code Enforcement Board, & the Code Enforcement Officers follow the regulations on the books – which we now know hadn’t been updated in years

·      The only time we are involved in any decision making is when the attorney brings us a settlement agreement

·      This caught the entire commission by surprise

What are you doing to fix it?

·      First – we’ve hired a new City Attorney, new Code Enforcement Officers, a new Code Enforcement Supervisor, and we’re in the process of hiring a new Planning/Dev director.  We want to ensure that anyone touching this process has the right mindset for Dunedin.

·      2nd – We are rebranding the entire department!  At my suggestion, we are changing the name of Code Enforcement to CODE COMPLIANCE.  If that’s our goal, then that’s what it should be called.

·      We are capping all fines so no more outrageous fines for our residents.

·      We are creating a tiered fine system based on what the issues are.  So no more outrageous fines for tall grass or parking in your yard.  Larger fines will be for those with life/safety issues.

·      We are creating an Amnesty Program so folks who come into compliance can get their fines drastically reduced or removed altogether. 

·      We have created stipulated settlement agreements as well.  If you buy a home in Dunedin with code problems and fix the issues in short order, you only have to pay a small fee to cover internal costs.  This will encourage those problem properties to be improved.

Summary

·      These are the facts!  Political Rhetoric aren’t facts!

·      Don’t take my word for it, call my colleagues.  Ask them if anyone on this commission saw this coming or could have prevented it?