Keeping Chenango up to code may get tougher

NORWICH – Cleaning up Chenango County could get a lot tougher as the number of code enforcement officers on duty has dwindled from six to three.

What’s more, Public Health Director Marcus Flindt told members of the Safety & Rules Committee last week that the vacated full-time and part-time positions wouldn’t be refilled because revenues have fallen off by $26,000 from last year. If the trend continues, he said the code enforcement department’s anticipated $200,000 in revenues for the year could be cut in half.

Code Enforcement Officer Bruce Bates said fewer commercial permits were fueling the department.

“We may have to make a big change,” Flindt said.

Flindt echoed what Town of Norwich Supervisor David C. Law proposed May 8 before a meeting of the Chenango County Planning Board: “This department should be paid for by taxpayers rather than pay as you go. It’s something that supervisors have to decide.”

For the past eight years, the county’s code enforcement officers have been hired and fired based on fee collection within the department. Three to four officers were on board back in 2001 and 2002, for example, but when large box retailers such as the Super Wal-Mart and Lowe’s came to the area, more building and fire code inspectors were hired. During the same time period, New York state code regulations were revised and updated.

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