Have you ever watched one of those “house flipping” shows on TV? You know, the ones where over the course of 30 minutes stars like Chip and Joanna Gaines renovate an old decrepit house and a disaster of a yard and turn it into a beautiful country home with gazebo and garden swing!
Well, it takes them more than 30 minutes but our Code Enforcement team has some pretty impressive “before” and “after” successes of its own.
The team of 12 from “Pierce County Responds” investigates and responds to complaints from neighbors about nuisance properties. You can find them throughout the County dealing with suspected drug houses, yards filled with tons of garbage and junk cars, derelict buildings or abandoned property claimed by squatters.
They have key partners in the Sheriff’s Department and the Prosecutor’s office – and many times get help from the Road Division and the Health Department. Not surprisingly, their property work often brings them into contact with people with mental health or drug issues. In those instances, they call on support from the Comprehensive Life Resources outreach teams.
The code enforcement program has undergone quite a renovation of its own in recent months. They inherited responsibility for solid waste complaints from the Health Department, converted its tracking program from paper files to a new digital system, added two Code Enforcement Officers and implemented the new Chronic Nuisance ordinance approved by the Council last fall!
Clearing the backlog of more than 300 complaints and converting to the new on-line system was a huge undertaking. It took an “all hands on deck” effort by the entire Code Enforcement team with additional administrative support from the Planning staff. The new Code Enforcement portal launched last November allows residents in unincorporated Pierce County to easily report and track the resolution of a complaint. The result? The number of phone calls have dropped and our citizens are getting better and more timely support.
What is up next for Code Enforcement? Developing an even closer partnership with the Sheriff’s Department to deal with chronic nuisance properties. Together, they will be using both criminal and building codes to shut down drug houses. Deputy Jake Kreis and Code Enforcement’s Mark Luppino have been modelling this kind of partnership on the Key Peninsula.
So, an early Monday celebration at the Annex was a great way to come back from my break and get me fired up for my week! Congratulations and thanks to Yvonne Reed, Code Enforcement Supervisor, and her intrepid team for their important work to respond to our residents, and create healthy and safe neighborhoods!
This week’s shout out goes to Dan Woodard, a Plans Examiner in Planning and Public Works. A customer recently took time to thank Dan for his great work: “He is thoughtful, responsible, efficient, and everyone up front has always been respectful and helpful. Great job!”
Great job, indeed, Dan! Thanks to you and the rest of the crew who work directly with PPW customers. You’re clearly taking great care of our residents as you deliver on our scorecard objective to “Continuously Improve Customer Service.”
Thanks for reading,