Presque Isle restructures code enforcement office

Posted May 13, 2011, at 7:54 p.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — By revamping and downsizing its code enforcement office, city leaders have taken the first steps to implement a restructuring plan that is expected to save the city $338,000 annually.

City Manager Jim Bennett said Friday the city had moved ahead earlier in the day with part of the reorganization plan, which was approved by the City Council as part of the 2011 budget process.

Bennett said that as of May 19, all of the city’s code enforcement personnel will be moved to the Public Safety Building, which is located on North Street. The city also eliminated one of its two CEO positions. The layoff took effect on May 11.

The office now will be staffed by one full-time code enforcement officer and an administrative assistant.

Bennett noted that personnel from the code enforcement office and the Fire Department often work together to inspect buildings and enforce safety codes, so putting the office in the same building is expected to streamline services and allow for easier accessibility and collaboration.

The code office previously had been located at City Hall on Second Street.

Although he feels the changes will benefit the city, Bennett said it was difficult to lay off someone.

“It is unfortunate that these tough economic times require difficult decisions involving layoffs,” said Bennett. “This is a problem that state and local governments across the nation are dealing with. I believe that these changes will streamline our code enforcement efforts while minimizing costs with minimal, if any, loss of service to residents.”

The manager said that the offices will physically be moved on Wednesday, May 18. While staff will remain available to provide services during the move, the city is encouraging residents to avoid the office on those days in order to speed up the move.

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