At the City Commission meeting on Oct. 28, the Commissioners voted to approve the implementation of a pilot Code Enforcement and Lien Amnesty Program that is looking to forgive $700,000 worth of lingering code violations and also help revitalize neighborhoods. The program was proposed by the Housing and Community Resilience Department (HCR).
The HCR ensures that properties in the City of Tallahassee meet all health and public safety requirements. The department works to improve citizens’ quality of life by having goals that keep in mind the impact of poverty, especially right now during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Amnesty Program aims to help applicants with cases with outstanding fines and significant backlogs of cases by providing financial assistance, giving many property owners a clean slate.
“The Amnesty Program is designed to provide financial relief and potential economic stimulus that can prompt property owners to address lingering code violations and join their neighborhoods’ revitalization efforts,” staff reports.
Many code violations come from properties that are vacant, abandoned or otherwise deemed unsafe to be maintained. Staff reports that code violations have a negative economic and social impact.
The Amnesty Program will allow for fine forgiveness between $50 and $350 excluding administrative costs. The program will be offered during a limited period of time at the beginning of 2021 for a three-month period and will be available to property owners with active code enforcement cases that were set in place prior to this past June. All rulings after this program ends will be enforced by an enhanced process.