A city committee charged with tackling issues of property maintenance is asking city officials to turn their attention once again to beautification and codes enforcement.
Citizens Property Maintenance Committee chairman Lou Mirjanich said the group willingly took a hiatus after Miami experienced a series of weather-related disasters in 2007 - including a record-setting flood event and an unprecedented ice storm.
“Gentlemen, it is now time to act,” Mirjanich said as he presented the current city council with a copy of a 2001 property maintenance report and the then council's written response.
Mirjanich said the reports, now nearly 8 years old, serve as “road maps” for the council to put the city “back on track” to streamlining a plan for enforcing adherence to property maintenance codes -including tall grass and junk cars.
Committee members Jimi Green and Bill Neill joined Mirjanich Monday as the group asked the city council to add another codes enforcement officer to the city's ranks and strengthen the existing property maintenance codes.
Green, a local real estate agent, said issues of property maintenance are going to grow as the number of property foreclosures increases in the current economic climate.
“They (code enforcement) are not going to be able to keep up,” Green said.
Neill, presenting a PowerPoint presentation of the city's troubled areas, asked the council to join the committee in building a vision of an “inviting, clean and beautiful” community.
Collectively, the committee members asked for assistance in instilling a sense of pride back into the community.
“It is the most difficult thing, instilling a sense of pride,” Miami Mayor Brent Brassfield said. “We have come somewhat accepting of mediocrity in our community.”
Brassfield said property maintenance is a sensitive issue in every community, noting that it treads near concerns of property rights.
The mayor said it is a difficult place to be when city administrators are forced with issues of health and safety - due to neglected or abandoned property.
“The is a very sensitive issue to me and I don't think we understand how it is adversely impacting our community,” Brassfield said. “We have a problem in our community that we need to address today … We need to clean it up.”
City Manager Huey P. Long has asked the committee to bring him a list of goals and objectives and a strategy for citywide property improvement.
The plan is expected to be presented to the council within the next 30 days.
The Citizens Property Maintenance Committee has already begun to organize its plan to jump-start property maintenance.
Monday's plea to the council follows a September announcement that the group is focusing its efforts on repeat offenders and hopes to engage support of a plan to stiffen the consequence for residents who repeatedly violate codes regarding tall grass, non-working vehicles and other matters of property maintenance.
The citizens committee will meet at 4 p.m. today to continue defining its vision statement.
“We invite the public to attend out meeting,” Mirjanich said. “We want the public's input. We want the public involved.”