8/1/2014

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Yakima plans to expand code enforcement next year

Yakima plans to expand code enforcement next year
YAKIMA, Wash. -- The results from the recent citizen survey showed that you aren't too happy with the city's code enforcement, giving them a rating of "poor."

Yakima has responded. There will be two more code officers on the street next year.

As a former janitor at the Cascade Apartments, Jacob Seaunier's work load always increased when managers were preparing for a code inspection.

He thinks adding more officers for unannounced visits could really clean up the city.

"It will change dramatically, they will be unaware of the code inspectors coming in and a lot more clean building, it will a be better atmosphere for everybody," said Seaunier.

And that's the city's plan by adding two more officers next April, bringing the city to a total of five code enforcement officers and four animal control officers.

The new officers are going to be really godsend to us because now what we could do is we are basically complaint driven, we're going to have an opportunity to do swipes in certain areas where we can attack areas that we know are problematic," said Joe Caruso, Yakima Code Enforcement Manager.

Some of these problem areas are the corridors coming into the city off the highways, the first impression of Yakima. They've already started sweeps on North 1st Street, and want to do the same on 16th Avenue, 40th Avenue, and Nob Hill Boulevard.

"A lot of times when you pull in that's the first thing you see is the clutter," said Caruso.

In addition, response times for your complaints will be cut down. Although emergencies are responded to immediately, other cases can sometimes take officers up to two weeks to respond to.

Whether it's trashed houses, loose pit bulls, or unsafe buildings like Jacob used to watch our for, the community's made it clear they've had enough.

"They don't like the way the city looks and we're obligated to clean it up for them," said Caruso.

If the council approves, the two additional officers will cost the city $100,000 next year by starting in April, and $133,000 annually after that.
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