DeKalb County will soon double the number of volunteers who help with code enforcement efforts.
A training session will be held Thursday night for a group of 85 volunteers. They will join 75 other citizens who now police the streets looking for code violations.
"They understand their neighborhoods," said Marcus Kellum, code compliance administrator. "They know the issues in their community. If they're properly trained to identify the issues we can help them to address, then it's a win-win for everyone."
Currently, the county has 25 paid officers to deal with 700,000 residents. The volunteers have helped ease the overwhelming workload.
Many residents agree more code enforcers are needed.
"I just pray that something gets done," said Barbara Hudson who lives next to an abandoned property covered with garbage and weeds in Decatur. "We deserve to live in a decent neighborhood."
Residents said unkempt homes bring down their property values.
"They need to do something about it," said Archie Berry, as he looked at a dilapidated home that has been abandoned for 15 years. "Tear it down. Sell it. Do something with it."
The county said it has handled 16,000 inspections so far in 2013 and fined violators more than $300,000. The focus now is to collect the fines and get the properties cleaned up.
While many welcome more code enforcement volunteers, some are skeptical they will make a difference.
"What's the use?" asked Hudson. "We're not even volunteers, and we call. We don't get anything done, so if you're a volunteer and you're going to call, what's that going to do?"
Thursday's training session is already full but additional sessions will be held in the months ahead.
For more information, go to CBS Atlanta.com and click on Weblinks.
Copyright 2013 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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