"Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him."
From Ellen Troxclair's latest newsletter:
Code Department ReformsRead the whole thing here.
I co-sponsored a resolution that passed which directs the City Manager to examine whether the city can improve efficiencies and customer service by shifting or consolidating some of the City’s Code Department under Planning and Development Review Services. This resolution comes after a recent audit presented to council by the Office of the City Auditor.
The audit concluded that code violation investigations were inconsistent and that documentation and resolution practices vary across cases due to lack of management oversight. It also identified an increased risk of inconsistencies in code interpretation and enforcement due to staff management lacking minimum qualifications in the Austin Code Department. Council also heard testimony from several residents vocalizing many cumbersome issues with the Code Department -- claiming the department was wasteful in time and tax dollars and focused on unimportant code violators versus repeat offenders.
The most concerning issue is that the 2016 audit reported is that these issues and findings were similar to those in the 2010 audit of the code department.
Another Texas city has already made similar changes to what the resolution proposes and has seen success. San Antonio recently consolidated its code enforcement services and development services departments to streamline their training practices. Now they are able to train staff members from the code enforcement and building inspections teams together. This helps with consistent interpretation of regulations. If the Code Department was consolidated, Austin would benefit by improving responsiveness and quality of code compliance and enforcement.
The City Manager is required to provide a report to Council no later than August 4th so the information from the report can be part of the fiscal year 2016-2017 budget discussions.