Residents Call For Century To Use County Code Officer

September 30, 2008

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The Town of Century should contract with Escambia County to return code enforcement to the town, at least according to the majority of people attending a town hall meeting last night.

Century held the town hall meeting to as they consider the option of either hiring their own code enforcement office or using the county’s officer under contract. The opinions at the meeting were varied, about 90 percent of the approximately 50 people at the meeting indicated they wanted the county enforcement officer policing code violations. Mayor Freddie McCall presented the council will the signatures of nearly 100 more people that support a county officer rather than a town officer.

“I don’t see why we can’t handle our own code and our own code enforcement,” Alfonzie Cottrell said. “We’ve given away everything we’ve got in Century.”

“I think it is time for Century to start doing something themselves,” he said. “We don’t have fire department, police department, hospital…we don’t have anything. We ain’t got nothing. But we got a big old budget…we should table this until we get the money…all we got to do is cut out some that unnecessary spending.”

“I am for the town taking care of its own code enforcement, but I’m also not in favor of spending money that we don’t have,”council President Ann Brooks said, getting a round of applause from the audience.

“If Century does it, we are going to have to hire a code enforcement officer that knows his  laws. He’s got to be the next thing to a lawyer himself,” Mayor Freddie McCall said, explaining that the officer will be required to present his or her cases in court.

“We can’t take a man off the street and give him minimum wages to do this job,” McCall said. “We have to build our community; we have to clean our community up. No businesses want to come now like it is.”

“We’ve got a big old budget, but we ain’t got nothing. Where is the money going?”  Cottrell asked. “We need to find out where the money is going…there’s just too much going on in Century that shouldn’t be going on.”"We would like to have things cleaned up,” Donna Tullis, owner of Odom’s Bar said, specifically addressing a business just south of the state line on Highway 29 that sells used merchandise near the road.. “It’s terrible for their impression of the Sunshine State to be a pile of junk. This first thing they see,” Tullis said. “Just do something, me as  business owner, I need help.”

“It taken Century a long to get where we are right now, a long time,” former mayor Benny Barnes said. “I certainly stand in support of a code enforcement officer being done by the county.”

Barnes said that hiring a town officer would be problematic. “We know one another too well, and there will be a lot of favoritism shown,” he said.

“We are already spending money from our taxes and paying our share for county code enforcement,” Line Showalter told the council.  “We need to get behind our county people and support them”

“I believe we have enough people, have enough pride in their own places, to do all they can to clean it up,” council member Riley said, suggesting that a  friendly letter might be all that it would take to get some people to clean up their property.”

The town will consider its next move toward code enforcement at a future council meeting.

Sandra Slay, Escambia County’s code enforcement manager, was present at Monday night’s meeting, responding to questions from residents. County Administrator Bob McLaughlin was also on hand, but did not speak publicly.

Pictured above: Century Mayor Freddie McCall presents a petition signed by about 100 residents asking for the town of use the county’s code enforcement officer. Pictured below: Just a handful of people raise their hands indicating that they support the Town of Century hiring its own code enforcement officer rather than using a county officer. NorthEscambia.com photo.

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Comments

6 Responses to “Residents Call For Century To Use County Code Officer”

  1. Felicia on October 2nd, 2008 9:51 pm

    Up here in Marshall County (Albertville) Alabama, we had to pass an ordinance for our “junk” stores. They are not to display any merchandise outside the building over 5 feet from the building, I believe is how it goes. It was getting too much and too nasty looking going down our main road. We have a much larger population and many more of these “junk” places so something had to be done. I totally agree that it is horrible seeing that right when you come over the overpass for a visit, be it home for the holidays or to the beach. It looks a mess.

    Cleaning up Century is not a job for a local. There are too many laws involved and everyone is almost all connected to each other in some way or another, so personal emotions WILL get involved. Just my opinion.

  2. Willene on September 30th, 2008 9:34 pm

    I don’t no who Brenda is but, I totally agree with her comment. And as for Mr. Wishes, I really enjoy reading yours to. Please get the COUNTY to do the enforcement.

  3. Mr. Wishes to be Anonymous on September 30th, 2008 6:16 pm

    Councilman Riley said, “I believe we have enough people, have enough pride in their own places, to do all they can to clean it up…” My question is since this has been a hot topic for months, maybe years, there is no reason townspeople can say they don’t know about it, so why haven’t they already done it? Isn’t that a valid point?
    I think Riley is in a dream world and I don’t think he should have been reelected last time he ran. Not that the other person would have done any better.
    What I heard was not “budget,” but “boo-jit,” according to Mr. Cottrell. He tries to run the town meetings by monopolizing the discussion. That is besides his wasting everyone’s time dredging up every other topic he can think of that had nothing to with the lawfully called meeting. If he wanted to talk about the “boo-jit,” why wasn’t he present at the “boo-jit” hearings?
    Sure seems the council president should work harder to control the meetings and not allow them to get out of hand by letting one person speak at will. She was given a lot of slack at the beginning of her term as president, but she should know now to be fair to all.
    Other than that, I think the meeting went well.

  4. brenda on September 30th, 2008 1:04 pm

    Century would be such a pretty little town if it were cleaned up. The roadside park is an example of the potential Century holds, its looks very nice. Councilman Riley, I do not think a friendly letter will give the incentive needed for people to get rid of debris. Council members, please stop tabling the issue, enter into a contract with the County and this time do not rescind the contract and lets move on to other issues. Lets make OUR town a nice, clean place to live.

  5. Jay on September 29th, 2008 11:39 am

    If the city wants to be a city… then act like it and pony up for the services; hire a town code enforcement officer and put him or her on the payroll. That way the mayor can control the activities of the officer. Otherwise vote to do away with the city government, and let the county take full charge.
    On a second note, the county already provides for the majority of the town’s big three services. It doesn’t make sense to have a town governement that cost residents that live within the city limits extra in taxes, which equates to more money for a town which doesn’t even provide basic services of police, EMS, and fire protection. I think that’s the point most are missing; Century wants its cake and to eat it as well.

  6. Mr. Greatful on September 29th, 2008 11:03 am

    If any community needed cleanup it certainly is Century. Buildings that have been empty for decades line Hwy. 29 thru Century. A suggestion would be that after the property has been cited by the code enforcement officer, the owner is given a time period to sign over permission for the State Prisoners to knock the property down and clean the land. A common problem in Century will be the inability of the owner to pay for the cleanup. If they sign over permission for the prisoners to remove debris, buildings, trash, etc. the only bill may be the cost of the disposal of the debris. Given that building debris could be expensive to remove, but the labor would be free. This idea or one similiar would be beneficial to all: the town, visitors, property owners, the prison, and to the property owner as it would save the money for labor. Time will tell.





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