Event put shared issues, solutions on table for inspectors
throughout Boone, Campbell, and Kenton
COVINGTON, Ky. – Code Enforcement Officers throughout three counties came together at Covington City Hall on Tuesday for the NKY Code Collaborative, where – in-between a breakfast of coffee and pastries from Point Perk and lunch from Goodfellas Pizza MainStrasse – they shared thoughts on challenges, issues, practices, problems, and solutions related to their work.
The Covington Code Enforcement Division organized the event and invited its contemporaries throughout Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties.
The Division protects the health and safety of Covington residents by enforcing property maintenance, nuisance, and zoning codes. Its goals are to increase residents’ quality of life, improve the aesthetics of neighborhoods, eliminate blight, preserve property values, and reduce crime. Its staff conducts periodic on-site inspections of properties, responds to complaints, and issues citations as needed. Many of the cases they deal with can take months or longer to process.
“It was extremely worthwhile to exchange ideas and commiserate with peers who have the same walk every day,” said Covington Code Enforcement Manager Walt Mace, who facilitated the discussions. “We discovered that we are all addressing the same problems, just at different stages of the process. It really helps to be able to see the road ahead through their eyes.”
Among the shared problems, Mace said they discovered that helping residents understand the length of time it often takes to deal with a code complaint was in issue they all encounter.
“We discovered one of our greatest shared problems was answering residents when people called back shortly after a complaint and don’t understand why it hasn’t been taken care of immediately,” said Mace. “There were several anecdotes shared over this one issue.”
And on the subject of rental licensing programs, participants weighed in with solutions that were helpful to a Code Enforcement Officer whose City is in the early stages of the program.
“One of the participants spent a lot of time asking about rental licensing programs as his City was about to start the process,” Mace said. “I’m certain that he will be able to avoid many of the pitfalls that a lot of us experienced with starting our own programs. We also discussed several different software applications that could help with the permitting of these particular licenses and help the collection of the fees.”
Mace said there were many good takeaways from the event.
“I think this is something for the good of all three counties that we will have to continue in the future,” he said.
Attendees echoed Mace’s satisfaction with the event, expressed interest in future collaborative meetings, and thanked the City for hosting the event:
- Robert Yoder, Community & Economic Development Director, City of Silver Grove:
“As a new code enforcement officer for a small town, it’s good to know how other cities handle things and work with things. There’s just a wealth of knowledge here. Everyone is helped by hearing how other cities do things. I think it was a great thing for the City of Covington to get this meeting together, and we’re already talking about setting up other meetings.”
- Robert Wilson, Boone County Code Enforcement Supervisor:
“Code Enforcement – at least with us – l feel like we’re on our own island. We feel isolated because the closest thing to what we’re doing is probably PD, obviously on the civil or private side, so we don’t really have a lot of people who know what we’re doing at any given time – they don’t know the challenges that we have. I had felt like there were challenges that were special to us because we’re Boone County and we don’t have a Code Board, but to see that everybody here who has a Code Board has the same challenges helps you know that you’re doing something right.”
- Darryl Jouett, Code Enforcement Citation Officer, City of Erlanger:
“I think it was very impactful to be able to sit down with all these different agencies and find out what they’re doing and how they’re dealing with certain aspects of the job that we have to deal with on a daily basis, it helps to have that sounding board – to hear this is what we’re doing and it’s not working, or this is what we’re doing, and it is working. I think this is great and hope that they continue doing it.”
- Tom McDaniel, Code Enforcement Officer, City of Bellevue:
“This was extremely helpful because we got to exchange ideas. There’s the spirit of the law and the letter of the law and we get involved mostly in the spirit of the law because we have to try to get compliance as well as enforcement.”
- Cassie Patterson, Code Enforcement Director, City of Dayton:
“I thought it was great. Just getting different ideas from different Cities on how they do things makes you re-evaluate how you do things. We’re always looking for an easier way to get people to comply with Code Enforcement, which is ultimately what we want – compliance.”
Said Mace, in sum: “We talked about issues and share problems and solutions, rather than try to reinvent the wheel. We were there to find out what works and what doesn’t work.”
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