The Enterprise City Council, at the work session prior to the regular meeting on Tuesday, heard an update from new Code Enforcement Officer Tyler Hurst.
Hurst was hired in May after councilmembers agreed that the city had a need for a dedicated code enforcement officer to handle such issues as business license compliance and nuisance property complaints.
“We had a little resistance to begin with, but we’re tracking about 240-50 properties end of August through September and, believe it or not, we’re about 97 percent complete,” he said. “Some of them (have a due date) not until the 23rd, so I think word’s got out.”
Hurst presented several photos to the council of residential and commercial projects that have been handled, and he addressed other projects.
“Some of the tension that has come up – say, for instance, the Rite Aid building,” he said. “They didn’t even care that their roof cupping was damaged after the last storm. They finally sent somebody to fix it. Okinawa – it took forever to find them and now that building is up for sale. The little bar called Drew’s had some issues and things like that and now they’re willing to sell their property.”
Interim Department of Engineering Services Director Staci Hayes said many of the issues with properties are related to heirs who live outside the city.
“It’s hard to find those people, and having someone dedicated to taking care of this and dedicated to that position has just been such an asset to the city,” she said.
Councilman Eugene Goolsby said he was looking forward to Hurst coming on board and addressing one of his “pet peeves.”
“I probably do my share of turning in some things that need to be addressed, and I still get a lot of calls” Goolsby said. “One complaint I’ve gotten recently in the last couple of weeks is about the fact that people are putting their trash in the street, not behind the curb. We do have a code that says it has to be behind the curb.”
Hurst said he tries to make verbal contact with owners in that matter and, if unsuccessful after a few tries, leaves a written copy of a portion of the ordinance.
Goolsby also said residents will leave rental properties and “dump all kind of crud along the street in no containers.”
“The wind blows and it goes everywhere and the neighbors call me complaining,” Goolsby said. “I’ve got a copy of the code here and it talks about putting your weed clippings, grass, magazines, boxes or whatever behind the curb. It goes on to the extent to say that it’s a misdemeanor (if you do not).”
“Every municipal code is basically a misdemeanor until it becomes an elongated affair,” said Hurst. “Then we can step it up to criminal activity or a felony. Very few of them get that far, but (it’s) criminal littering.”
Councilman Perry Vickers asked Hayes when the last time the codes had been looked at and if it was necessary to revisit them.
“(The year) 2012,” Hayes said. “You can always look at it. There’s always room for improvement and room for changes, and it’s just kind of how you guys see the vision of things going. I know that (Hurst) has been a tremendous asset -- just going and talking to people and just having someone to be able to find these people has made a huge difference. I would say, you know, before we go changing anything, let him continue on for another six months. See where we get with what we have.”
“If you see something we need to look at, just us know,” Vickers said.
Councilman Al Miller mentioned that tree trimmers sometimes do trim trees and “just put it out thinking the city is going to pick it up.”
Hayes said that was an ongoing problem.
“Spring and Fall, we all clean or do landscaping of our bushes and stuff,” Hayes said. “There’s a difference between doing that and then going and deciding that you want a quarter acre of your woods cut down behind your house. That’s kind of what we run into.”
Hurst added that he has had to shut down some lawn care agencies operating without a license.