• Posted On: October 31, 2014

We’ve all seen it – formerly well-kept houses that families called home for decades that have fallen into ruin. The siding shows signs of wear and is missing in sections; the roof sags and the property surrounding the home has overgrowth and dangerously leaning trees strewn across it. Neighbors are unhappy and city and/or county personnel are overrun with areas like this across the city. What can possibly help this situation?

The city development staffs in Wausau, WI, were no strangers to the above situation. A few years ago, city officials decided they needed to assign a task force to target code violations. They focused on just about every code in the book, from unkempt lawns to buildings. They even hired a second inspection officer to look after the rental-licensing program established to protect renters from landlords who weren’t keeping up their properties.

In many cases, the city pays for the demolition of these unsafe structures, some of which are historic, and does what it can to get the money back from the deed holder. Battling blight requires drastic measures, often on the part of the community that will band together to save these structures.

A vital component of any neighborhood, young or old, are the code inspection workers who routinely inspect homes and structures that have sat vacant for any length of time. Following the recession, many communities were struck by foreclosures, which remained vacant for months or years. As these properties changed hands or were reported as possibly unsafe to the city, code inspection workers suddenly got an increase in their caseload. Not every code inspection department was prepared to handle the influx of work.

The communities best suited for the influx of work were already running software and using technology that allowed them to easily report on cases and inform the community of its progress. Those who were using antiquated methods of reporting were hit hardest and remain entrenched in a struggle to keep up.

If you’re like many municipalities, you’re strapped for cash and do everything you can to cut corners when appropriate. You’re not going to let your inspection team do anything less than follow existing codes, but you’re probably thinking your budget won’t allow you to spend any money on improving the technology inspectors use to do their jobs. However, a slight investment now in software and current technology can save you money in the long run while improving the customer satisfaction ratings.

Code inspection software can help inspectors keep track of open cases, pull up historic information on properties and route information to their managers and to the public who first reported the code problem. This is what Comcate has focused on for its clients.

Comcate specializes in bringing solutions to communities just like yours through its innovative software and applications that can be used by the public to report code issues to the city or county inspection officials. For more information on our code enforcement solutions, contact us today.

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