Ridgeland streets patrolled for code violationsBy NIKKI ROWELL,
Driving the city each day, two members of the city of Ridgeland staff aim to keep the city’s commercial and residential areas up to code.
Georgia Trebisky serves as the code enforcement manager for the city, and Robert Ray is the code enforcement officer.
When Community Development Director Alan Hart came on board, he hired the city’s first code enforcement officer in 2006.
“That’s when we started off of the recommendation of the community awareness committee, which is a group comprised of appointed people by the city’s aldermen,” Hart said. “They looked at our city and said we need someone on staff who can go around the city and help with code violations and things. That’s what got us the opportunity to have that budget line item plugged in. We hired the individual and realized immediate success.”
One of the things that they decided when the program was first created was that it was important for it to not just be a complaint-based agency.
“It wasn’t a very effective approach,” Hart said of the complaint-based approach. “So, we created a code enforcement plan that divided the city into manageable tracts.”
There are about 21 tracts in the code enforcement plan.
“So, we essentially start with one, then go to two and circulate through,” Hart said.
Areas with greater need are divided into smaller tracts. Areas that require less time – either because they’re newer, have fewer violations or have a really active homeowners association – are a little larger.
“Meanwhile, we do get complaints and we do respond to those,” Hart said.
Trebisky said they first issue a courtesy warning, which most cases are resolved after receiving notice. If not, a final notice is issued and if the problem is not resolved after that, then a ticket is given.
“We have a really high compliance rate,” Trebisky said.
Trebisky and Hart attribute this to the fact that they work with residents to resolve the issue instead of only issuing citations.
“We are in it to resolve the violation in the best way,” Hart said. “We work to find out what the root of the problem is and partner them with people who can help out.”
For instance, if the complaint is overgrown grass, their first step is to not only issue the courtesy warning, but Hart said they go visit the person to find out what the situation is.
“Whether it is a woman whose husband just died, and he was the one who handled those things or an elderly person who is struggling,” Hart said. They partner with area youth groups and other organizations to help out.
According to Tribesky, they issue approximately 1,500 courtesy warnings for code violations each year. The most common violations are tall grass, parking in the yard and accumulation in the yard in residential areas.
A majority of the violations are residential cases.
The department takes complaints via the city website. For those who make a complaint for a code violation, the code enforcement department also gives updates when the issue has been resolved.
For those who want to partner with the city to help in cases of need, call Trebisky at 601-856-3877.