Major Leap Forward

By the end of the year, it may be easier for city residents to file housing complaints with the city.

On Monday, Vince DeJoy, city development director, introduced a new software program that will allow residents to file complaints online. During a City Council work session meeting, DeJoy said the name of the software company is MyGov, which is a web-based government and community development software program. The system will assist the city’s code enforcement officers with their jobs. The software program will allow all involved in the city’s development office to access information easier because it will be streamlined. The program will also help mobilize code officers daily on what houses they need to continue tracking.

Not only will it help city officials, but it will assist residents in reporting possible code violations. DeJoy said people can take photos of a house with their smartphones or any computer device with Internet access to submit a photo of a potential problem property. He said there is an online action center where citizens can submit complaints, which will be easier and faster than a resident calling a city official.

The implementation costs for the new software program is around $30,000, with an annual software subscription being around $20,000. DeJoy said it would take about 90 days until the new system would be operational. He said several programs were investigated, but the MyGov user-friendly system seemed to be the best fit for city officials.

Sam Teresi, Jamestown mayor, said the updated technology will not fix all of the city’s housing problems, but is an important step in being more modern about code enforcement.

”Another important, necessary tool to put in the toolbox,” he said.

Teresi also talked about several initiatives already in place in the city to improve neighborhoods and housing. He also discussed how the city has added a second, two-person property maintenance crew for grass cutting at abandoned properties. He said right now the city regularly maintains 58 of these properties in the city. The mayor said city officials have recently updated the fee structure for the grass cutting program. He said those who violate the code will now have to pay two to three times what it cost in the past.

Teresi said most property owners in the city are responsible and maintain their homes. However, he said it only takes a couple poor property owners to ruin it for the rest.

”It is frustrating to all of us,” he said.