East Ridge City Manager Chris Dorsey said Wednesday that the city will stop sending some certified letters to residents who have fallen afoul of the city’s Codes Enforcement Division.
“We’re going to start sending out courtesy letters,” Dorsey said in an interview at City Hall. “You can call us and we will discuss it with you.”
Dorsey’s new policy follows numerous residents receiving a citation via certified mail in recent weeks. Some residents said the $7.85 postage was a waste of taxpayer money. One person who received a citation for not having address numbers on his house or mailbox, asked why codes officials didn’t simply knock on the door and inform him of the violation?
Dorsey said that city officials are concerned over the safety of codes enforcement officers. He said they do not carry a firearm and on rare occasions are the subject of hostility.
Two codes enforcement officers have been systematically driving through the city looking for codes violations, Dorsey said. The codes officers are making note of what they observe, and up until recently, sending out citations via certified mail. Dorsey said the city attorney encouraged the certified mail route to ensure that the potential violators had been legally notified.
Dorsey said the “courtesy letters” going out will instruct residents who may have questions to contact codes enforcement officials via telephone. Residents will most likely have to leave a message and the codes enforcement official will return the call. The other option is to show up at the city’s monthly meeting of the Administrative Hearing Officer to resolve any potential violation.
“We’re trying to be pro-active, not re-active,” Dorsey said.