Monday, June 6, 2016

15,000 Code Violations in 3 years - Jonesboro

Debbie Pelley
by Debbie Pelley, Contributing Author: I recently was shown information about code violations for Jonesboro, Arkansas, that I could hardly believe. I kept hearing from proponents of the recently defeated Code how the city was so limited with their present code that they could only demolish homes and make people cut their grass. They kept saying we needed the international code for the safety and health of citizens.

Now that I have seen the summary report on violations for the last three years, I learned that under the old code for the last three years (2013 to 2016) there have been 15,514 total violation cases by code enforcement. Many of these were for health and safety reasons, the very reason we were told we had to have the international code. For example, there were
  • 2,007 violations for Unsightly or Unsanitary Conditions;
  • 1,964 violations for illegal disposal;
  • 270 violations for Unsafe Building;
  • 126 violations for Nuisances Against Public Health,
  • 45 for Standing Water Prohibited,
  • 18 for Evidence of Mosquito Breeding,
  • 410 violations for "Other" All these above have to do with health and safety of citizens. And if the violation did not fit one of these, I am sure code enforcement could have fit anything they chose to under "Other"
Other violations listed are as follows:
  • 788 violations for inoperative Vehicles on Property;
  • 5,950 violations for Overgrown Grass, Weeds, Vines, or Low hanging Limbs,
  • 107 violations for Pool Enclosure Required,
  • 3 violations for Repairing Vehicles on Streets,
  • 3,815 violations for Unlawful storage [whatever that might be]
  • 11 Maintaining a Nuisance Property
There were 91 cases actually cited to court. Did any of you read about any of these cases that went to court? I didn't. The city said 99% of the code enforcement cases were settled without a citation to court. Of course they were. Who wants to pay an attorney and court costs?

So just why did we need the new defeated code passed in December, 2015? Could it just be because there were no fines in the old code, but the possibility of huge fines in the new code which could be used for a revenue stream for the city - just as other cities that adopted the international code are using it?
Debbie Pelley is Retired Arkansas Teacher of 27 years. She is presently a grassroots citizen activist, researcher and writer who advocates for Arkansans and for transparent and limited government. She is a contribution author on the ARRA News Service. and this site.

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