Community Development Block Grant
Success Stories

Macon, GA - Mayor Jim Marshall

One- and Two-Family Code Enforcement

In July 1996, in an effort to make code enforcement an effective neighborhood revitalization tool, Macon officials transferred one- and two-family housing code enforcement from the Building Inspection Department to the City's Economic and Community Development Department. This was done with the encouragement of the City's neighborhood, non-profit and banking partners who recognized that this area of housing code enforcement would be more effective if placed in the department which focused on housing and neighborhood revitalization.

In addition to moving the program, the City has taken several actions to strengthen the enforcement efforts. The Mayor appointed one Municipal Court judge to preside over all housing code cases; previously, these cases had been passed from one judge to another, making the court process ineffective. The City developed tough board-up standards for vacant houses. It improved the image of the inspection staff, giving them uniforms with badges, new trucks and the authority to issue citations. Finally, the City invested in new computer software and hardware. This includes software to track all housing code cases and interface with inspection software that provides detailed descriptions of code violations; it uses digital photographs and hand-held equipment that can be used in the field to pull up an address and review its case history.

The City uses approximately $290,000 of its CDBG funds each year to help pay code enforcement administrative costs. This has enabled it to increase the amount of City General Funds available for housing demolition and has generated significant private sector investment in demolition and repair. In 1998, the $290,000 in CDBG funds invested in code enforcement resulted in an estimated $3.4 million in private sector investment to correct code violations. During that year, 4,978 properties were inspected, 2,594 cases were opened and 2,327 cases were closed. Closed cases included 597 houses repaired, 135 houses demolished, 880 yard and premise violations corrected and 715 inoperable vehicles removed and/or properly stored.

City officials point to a number of positive physical changes in inner city neighborhoods that have resulted from improvement in the code enforcement process. They say it is beginning to help:

  • •reduce the reluctance of home buyers, homeowners, landlords and others to invest in the purchase, repair and/or construction of housing and the establishment of small businesses;
  • •slow the flight of working persons from older neighborhoods and from the City as neighborhoods decline and become crime-ridden;
  • •improve the self-esteem of children, teens and adults who live and attend school in these neighborhoods;
  • •curb the decline of property values and the tax base;
  • •decrease criminal activity - drugs, gangs, prostitution, etc. - associated with abandoned and severely substandard housing; and
  • •change the image of Macon and its inner city neighborhoods for persons and companies considering locating or expanding in Macon.

Contact: Martin Fretty, Acting Director, Economic and Community Development, (912) 751-7190

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