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City grant will aid code enforcement



Published: Thu, May 30, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Staff report

Youngstown

The city received a $94,803 grant for software for its code enforcement, allowing an easier link to its demolition list.

The grant is from Ohio’s Local Government Innovation Fund for the Mahoning Valley Collaborative Code Enforcement System. It’s a collaboration among the city, Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp., the Youngstown State University Center for Urban Studies and Empyra.

DeMaine Kitchen, mayor’s chief of staff, said the city applied for the grant last year and was turned down.

“We received verbal confirmation that we were awarded the grant,” he said. “We’re still waiting for something in writing.”

David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, said in a news release that the state is committed to giving back to local communities.

“But the value is in saving local taxpayers more money in the long run,” he said.

The Local Government Innovation Fund is for projects in nine categories: technology, public safety, facilities, economic development, fleet management, public works, administration, health and human services and educational instructional support.

Kitchen said the city used Empyra to create a system that allows residents to monitor the status of properties on the demolition list. But the code enforcement system remained under the old computer system.

The grant will help to move code enforcement into the same system as the demolition list.

The city also hopes to develop mobile applications through the system to allow inspectors, for example, to snap a photo out at a site and load directly to the city, Kitchen said. That will reduce the city’s carbon footprint, he said.


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