September 19, 2017
Last night’s BOC meeting proved one thing—the City is pushing the County to do code enforcement for them even though the City has the money to provide it themselves.
Only 3 BOC members were present last night, so no decision was made; however, there was plenty of discussion, a request for a joint meeting of the City and County, and Councilman Stone Workman finally saying, “We will just do it our own damn selves.” (County residents should hope they do so!)
Mayor Brian Standifer addressed the BOC, saying, “joint code enforcement is a good thing for them to do together.” He also said the city has budgeted money and just needs to know how much the county wants so the city can write them a check.
Mr. Mayor, why is it if you have the money and have it budgeted that the city doesn’t do its own code enforcement? Additionally, how is it good for county taxpayers to increase their tax burden to provide city residents with services?
Comm. Pennamon repeatedly said there were lots of details that had to be worked out before they could do anything. Does this mean the county is willing to take over code enforcement in the city despite the fact that the county either does no code enforcement or has a tremendous backlog in the county?
The Mayor seemed to think that an IGA (intergovernmental agreement) could make an “end run” around some of the legalities, but the county attorney had a different opinion.
Comm. Pennamon also brought up the fact that it has been 10-15 years since the City had code enforcement. He questioned just how large the backlog would be. Mayor Standifer assured him they had lots of activity in the last 2 years. The real problem is that the City did away with its municipal court when it did away with their Police Department (and put the tax burden of the Sheriff providing the policing of the City on the county and county taxpayers). Now the City doesn’t have a court to take their cases to, and the City wants the Magistrate to handle the cases.
It appeared from the conversation that either there needs to be a municipal court again or the city needs to pay for Magistrate services. Why is the only solution the City presents is having the county buy a truck, hire another employee, pay health insurance, retirement, workers compensation, etc., etc.? The City has employees, and they could hire another one to do code enforcement; the city also has vehicles and could use one of their own for code enforcement.
This issue will be on the agenda again on October 2, 2017 at 6:00PM. Before that date, the City Council and BOC may have a joint meeting to discuss it. Chairman Pennamon and Mayor Standifer had a conversation about the upcoming meeting:
County taxpayers already pay taxes to cover $500,000 a year or more so the Sheriff can provide 24/7 patrols to the 2 square mile area of the City of Monticello. No area in the county gets that kind of coverage for their tax dollars. By providing code enforcement for the City, county taxpayers will again be paying for the city residents to get better service and more service than county residents.
Look at the lake area of the county—Turtle Cove, Alcovy Shores, and Rollingwood Cove—the code enforcement has been non-existent for 15-20 years—and pleas for something to be done fall on deaf ears. Shouldn’t the BOC take care of county FIRST?
Citizens, be informed and stay informed! Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County. That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.