RECOMMENDATIONS Housing task force
Some recommendations from the Housing Code Enforcement Task Force report, to be considered by Youngstown City Council later this month:
Immediately adopt the Building Officials and Code Administrators' (BOCA) International Property Maintenance Code as the city's housing code, incorporate the city's rental property owners' registration law, enacted in 1999, and begin enforcing that law immediately.
Revive the citizen inspection program to encourage citizen involvement and community ownership of neighborhoods and maintain vigilance over neighborhood stability.
Begin erecting slum property identification signs as provided for in a 1998 city ordinance to allow neighbors of offending properties the opportunity to contact landlords and demand repairs.
Adopt a system of administrative penalties similar to one in Akron, including giving housing inspectors the authority to issue administrative fines -- a system the task force says is less expensive and time-consuming than the current process of prosecution in the criminal courts.
Remove most housing code issues from municipal court, and establish a housing code appeals board to respond to administrative penalty orders. The task force says such a board can be more sensitive to the compliance needs of people who are elderly, indigent or disabled.
Separate housing inspection from the demolition division; create new job descriptions for all positions; carry out job performance reviews annually; computerize the entire inspection system to ensure accountability.
Source: Housing Code Enforcement Task Force Report