St. Joe County code enforcement begins today
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- Steve Szaday, one of the two new code enforcement inspectors, said the program has a tall order of properties to address.
“As we have seen in just the last twenty-four hours, there’s a lot of properties where we need to go!” he laughed.
So far the program has a backlog of more than two-hundred complaints since its announcement-- with nearly fifty more being made online in the past day.
The three main priorities of the county's code enforcement program are abandoned vehicles, public nuisances-- such as piles of garbage and wood cuttings that could pose a safety hazard-- and overgrown weeds and other vegetation.
Some residents have taken issue with the program-- but the inspectors want to alleviate their concerns.
“We’re not to harass anyone—that’s not the point," Szaday said. “We understand this is not going be an overnight thing for them to take care of.”
Szaday said it's their job to only go out to properties that have received complaints, to determine if the complaint is legitimate-- and if so, they'll leave a hang-tag, not for a fine-- but for the resident to contact the inspectors and work to figure out how to resolve the issue.
“We wanna see some progress, you know, and work with people to get that progress made," he said. "If we go out there and see, oh, there’s one less vehicle now, or this pile is gone, we’ll come back and talk again in another week or so, and see what’s going on at that point.”
Though they do warn that if no contact is made to the inspectors and nothing is done, that resident could be found in violation of county code, and a lien could be put on their property.
But Szaday said they hope to prevent that from happening.
“We wanna work with everybody, so that’s why we’re giving the courtesy notice, and that’s before we give the violation notice and before we another violation notice," he said. "So we wanna say 'hey.' The first thing it says is contact us, let’s see if we can have a plan of action here.”
St. Joseph County's code enforcement can be contacted here: Code Enforcement | St. Joseph County, IN (sjcindiana.com)