Tampa council members consider harsher penalties for code violat - WFLA News Channel 8

Tampa council members consider harsher penalties for code violators

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Silver Oaks mobile home community is inspected by Tampa's code enforcement Monday. Silver Oaks mobile home community is inspected by Tampa's code enforcement Monday.
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) - James Murphy has been living at the Silver Oaks Mobile Home Park for seven years. He’s complaining that now he can’t get management to fix a plumbing problem in his unit.

“They need to come and fix it through the ground but nobody came yet. I've been telling them for month and months,” said Murphy.

Silver Oaks has dozens of code violations reported over the past decade. There were 13 violations cited last year.

“Some of them just tell the maintenance man, some of them don't say anything,” said manager Oscar Pulido.

“The real goal here is to get compliance. We are not trying to soak people for money,” said city councilman Harry Cohen about a new measure to get property owners to pay up for code violations.

“Now when someone owes money related to a code enforcement violation ultimately a lien gets put on their property. That means the city may not get it's money in fines until the property is sold or someone goes to finance something it can take some time,” said Cohen.

But now, Cohen would like to see some of the property tax fines added on to property tax bills.

“Pure fines, things that are punitive in nature, would not be able to be attached to the property tax bill. But the money that the city actually incurs to remedy a situations could be. If for example a person doesn't mow their lawn and they city goes in and mows the lawn, that money could be attached to the property tax bill at the end of the year,” said Cohen.

City council members will discuss the idea at the end of February. And then they could take the steps needed to pass an ordinance.

“We hope in this case that people will be more likely to pay, if they know that we're going to have a little bit of a heavier stick,” said Cohen.

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