Long before Hillsborough County GOP fundraiser Hoe Brown was busted for allowing his rental properties in Tampa to fall into disrepair, the city had been subject to severe criticism for its lax standards when it comes to code enforcement. But it's also undoubtedly true that the front-page stories on Brown exposed how impotent the city government has been in addressing the issue.
Currently the code enforcement department is on a 30-day offensive to go after egregiously maintained properties, and Mayor Bob Buckhorn's proposed new budget includes funding for additional agents. Specific actions to change the status quo were also discussed extensively at today's Tampa City Council meeting.
Until recently, Code Enforcement had only 26 agents to survey the thousands of Tampa homes that have violated code. But Jake Slater, director of Neighborhood Services for the city, is seeing that upgraded to 35 now that the Mayor is adding four new positions, and five other agents are coming over from another department.
Acknowledging the obvious problems at hand, Slater said he did see things improving, and pointed to the added manpower and a new software system the department will employ in January.