Tampa City Council gets code enforcement update

09/18/08 Mitch E. Perry
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Tampa City Attorney Chip Fletcher today provided an update to the City Council on the situation involving liens against city property deemed to be in violation of code enforcement laws.

Fletcher said the city has been working on collecting fines from properties worth $175,000 and up. He said there are currently millions of dollars in outstanding fines, but he admits that the liens are more expensive than the value of the properties in some cases so the city will never realize that amount.

Fletcher said the city has collected between $800,000 and $1.2 million in code enforcement actions over the years.

City Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena said the Council wanted to work closer with the Pam Iorio administration to make the whole process more efficient.

Councilman Charlie Miranda said he wanted the city to prioritize where code enforcement violations are taking place in Tampa – indicating that the problem is more pronounced in poorer sections of the city.

Miranda referenced the U.S. government’s recent bailouts of insurance giant AIG and mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and compared those woes with those in Tampa’s whose financial problems have prevented them from correcting problems related to their property. And he expressed regret that there is no mechanism in place to help those in need.

The parts of Tampa Miranda was referring to include downtown and Ybor City, and east and west Tampa.

Saul-Sena, who lives in upscale Davis Islands, cautioned Miranda that her district does have code enforcement problems, too.

Saul-Sena said the problem with foreclosed properties with swimming pools are with mosquitoes breeding. She requested Code Enforcement work with the public health department to get rid of standing water.

The City Council passed a motion ordering the Code Enforcement Department to work with the Public Health Department to address standing water in abandoned homes, and to get a report on where code enforcement action is located in the city.

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