Columbia Releases Code Enforcement Numbers
COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia's Office of Neighborhood Services released the number of code enforcement cases for the fiscal year of 2012 last Tuesday. Violations include overgrown yards, trash, unlicensed vehicles, and zoning violations. The department handled 3,709 code violations during the year, that's an increase of more than 1,000 since last year. Eighty-one percent of violations reported were resolved by the tenants. The rest of the cases are still considered active and are being handled by the city.
Columbia residents reported thirty-nine percent of the violations. Enforcement workers for neighborhood services found the other sixty-nine percent.
Rental unit inspection is another duty of the department. As of September 30th, there were 24,525 rental units registered in the city, 556 more than last year. There were only 140 complaints from rental tenants last year.
The office of neighborhood services was created in 2010 to streamline the enforcement of residential codes. Neighborhood Services manager Leigh Britt said while the department is new, the issues they handle are not. "These are not new codes, new regulations, new services. Prior to our office being put together, these code violations were handled by different departments," Britt said.
There are twelve employees in the department including building inspectors and one police officer. Funding for the office comes from the City of Columbia's general funds, and fees associated with rental registration.