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City taking code enforcement seriously

BY Paige Conley - pconley@perutribune.com

Peru is taking back the city and enforcing property codes with one-and-done notices for property owners who fail to comply with city codes.

According to Peru Building Department Administrative Assistant Brenda Douglass, property owners who violate city codes will receive a letter informing them of their code violation, the remedy to fix the problem and the penalty if they choose not to comply.

If the property owner still hasn't taken action to rectify the situation after ten days, the property is put on a list for continuous abatement.

According to this code, if the property owner fails to comply with the code again, the city doesn't have to notify the individual before they abate the property and the owner is fined.

The fines can range anywhere from $50 to $1,000, depending on the extent of the problems, according to Mayor Gabe Greer's Assistant Ashley Lowe.

Continuous abatement not only saves the city time by not having to issue the same warnings to the same residents over and over again, but it also enforces safety and aesthetic as well.

A property owner can receive a letter any time throughout the year when they fail to comply with a city code. However, the property only stays on the list for the calendar year, according to Lowe.

As far as the code is concerned for rental property owners, the letter and the fines are sent to the deeded owner of the residence. A hard copy of the letter is also left on the door of the property to inform the residents, and, if renters fail to comply, the fine falls on the property owner.

If a home on the continuous abatement list is sold in the same calendar year it was added and the new property owners are fined without notice, they can get in contact with the Code Enforcement Office to work out an agreement.

“They're definitely willing to work with people because we realize everybody is human, we realize everybody makes mistakes and that everybody has a job to do,” Lowe said.

The money collected from the fines go back into the building and code enforcement department as well as to the crews who complete the tasks so every property is up to code.

“It's paying for their materials, their labor and their time,” Lowe said.

Every property owner is given a chance to comply with city codes once they've been caught violating one. When property owners refuse to comply with the codes, it is up to the code enforcement office to fix it for everybody's safety.

“We 100 percent love our code enforcement crew,” Lowe said. “They're troopers.”

If a city resident has an issue with a fine or wishes to speak with someone about being on the list, they can get in touch with the Code Enforcement Office.