There's an effort underway to clean up eyesores in Tallahassee that could pump unpaid dollars into the city.
With outstanding fines topping $11-million, commissioners say they're ready to get serious about enforcing building codes. Wednesday night, commissioners debated options including mass foreclosures and publicizing names of repeat offenders.
There is one house worth big bucks to the city of Tallahassee. It's accumulated some $244,000 in building code fines since 1989.
WCTV requested a copy of the city's code violators. They found dozens of repeat offenders.
The top names? William and Patricia Proctor with over $800,000. Cleveland and Annie Lee Roberts topping $290,000, and James and Mamie Jackson, with almost $135,000 in fines.
The two properties owned by William Proctor and an associate, have been out of compliance since 1993. Fines now total about $240,000. The Proctors declined to be interviewed but their son Commissioner Bill Proctor says his parents have been targeted in part because of who he is.
City Commissioner Allan Katz says the commission may start its fine crackdown with repeat offenders.
“I think it's a big problem because it's very difficult to expect people to take government seriously or do things the right way when people who violate the law on regular basis nothing happens,” said Katz.
“You couldn't see anything when I bought this place,” said Sal Secondo, landlord.
Landlord Sal Secondo says the city needs to be reasonable with code enforcement. He says this land was neglected for a decade, and then he bought it.
“Virtually the day I buy this (the land), I get certified letters in the mail complaining all these code violations and giving me 30 days to comply with code violations,” Secondo said.
Secondo says most property owners will work with the city, but they expect the city to work with them.
Obviously there's a big difference between letting property languish for 10 years and leaving something for say 90 days.
City commissioners want to look at some of the options for better code compliance.