City codes officials using muscle, need more to be effective

The city Codes Department is hitting landlords with knowingly substandard structures hard these days.

The fourth installment of the city’s “shameful properties list” announced by Mayor Gabriel J. Campana this week included 43 citations to 11 property owners, with each citation carrying a $1,000 fine.

All of the citations follow visits from codes personnel and continual nagging from the city to make repairs to the properties.

It’s hard to accuse anyone of not caring, but it sure looks like these property owners don’t care about the properties in question.

The city needs to keep pressing to clean up dilapidated housing. These rundown structures are firetraps and probably nesting grounds for drug dealers.

There was good news on two fronts that came from the news conference announcing the citations. Mayor Campana said he intends to propose one or two more codes people in his 2014 budget plan. We hope that number can be doubled to match what two members of council have suggested in order to fight local heroin traffic by monitoring properties hosting dealers and users more closely and that those suggestions are seriously considered by the mayor.

We also like that the mayor has created a nuisance property task force made up of city residents who are stakeholders in areas where there are high rental property populations.

The task force represents a form of tough peer pressure, which may be the shortest route to cleaning up rundown properties and heroin nesting grounds in Williamsport.