Mayor's Budget to Include New Resources for Building Inspection

Monday, October 1, 2007 - 3:41am

Madison - Mayor Dave Cieslewicz said today that his 2008 executive operating budget will include significant new resources for building inspection and code enforcement as part of the Mayor's Public Safety Initiative. The mayor had previously announced that his budget would include funding for 30 additional police officers.

"Properly maintaining safe, habitable and well-kept properties is a vital part of neighborhood public safety," said Mayor Cieslewicz. "In combination with our recently-passed chronic nuisance abatement ordinance, this investment will help us address problematic properties in a proactive, systematic manner. This type of approach must be central to any comprehensive strategy for public safety."

The Mayor's budget calls for the following additional resources for the city's Neighborhood Preservation and Inspection Unit (formerly known as Building Inspection):

• $59,000 for a new Property Maintenance Inspector to deal with property maintenance problems such as tall grass and weeds, trash in yards, snow and ice removal and graffiti.

• $61,000 for a new Zoning Code Inspector to address an increasing amount of zoning and street graphic-related code enforcement responsibilities such as over occupancy, signage and parking violations. This will free up Housing and Property Maintenance inspectors who have been handling this backlog and allow them to deal with the issues they specialize in.

• $63,000 for a new Housing Inspector to deal with interior and exterior housing code violations such as broken windows, holes in walls and ceilings, plumbing leaks, defective locks, inadequate heat, peeling paint and deteriorated roofs.

Under its current staffing levels, the Neighborhood Preservation and Inspection Unit is limited in its ability to conduct systematic building inspections while also responding to complaints in challenged neighborhoods. With these additional staff, the agency will be able to expand its systematic inspections beyond the downtown area to challenged neighborhoods. The agency will also be able to perform more proactive inspection work, as opposed to waiting for complaints.

As with other aspects of the executive budget, the Mayor noted that the ability to provide these new resources is contingent upon passage of a state budget that does not force the city to cut its own budget. Two provisions in the Assembly version of the state budget would force Madison to make $15 million in cuts from its current budget, making new investments in areas like building inspection impossible.

The Mayor introduces his full budget on October 2.

  • George Twigg, (608) 266-4611