Tuesday, November 19, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 37

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on August 6th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 23 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 20, Issue 23

Lompoc moves code compliance online following layoffs

By Zac Ezzone

Residents in Lompoc hoping to submit concerns to the city’s compliance division will now have to do so online because the division was eliminated when the city passed its 2019-21 biennial budget.

According the city, Lompoc has added a code compliance concern form to its website that can be filled out online. In the statement, the city also announced that it’s changing how it prioritizes responding to complaints because of the restructuring.

“With the reduction in staffing, code compliance concerns must be addressed on a priority-level basis, with emergency, life, and safety items receiving attention first,” reads a statement Lompoc officials released on Aug. 2.  

In an interview with the Sun on June 25, the day after the City Council passed the 2019-21 budget, Lompoc Mayor Jenelle Osborne said the city isn’t eliminating code enforcement altogether—specific departments have staff dedicated to monitoring code violations relevant to their respective departments. However, this move eliminates the office that residents would call for general complaints about lawn maintenance, housing violations, or other similar concerns.

“There are code enforcement positions in other departments, but general code enforcement—things you think about when you call to complain about certain things—we will not have anyone to respond to those issues,” Osborne said in June.

Through this online form, residents can still submit those general complaints regarding housing, building, or landscape maintenance violations, to the city. The complaints will then be directed to and handled by the appropriate division, such as the fire or wastewater department. 

These changes went into effect on July 1, when the city’s 2019-20 fiscal year began. In addition to eliminating the two code compliance positions, the city also eliminated two planning positions, one battalion chief position in the fire department, and two office assistant positions, and changed the city’s public information officer post into a grant writer position. 

The City Council opted to pass a budget including these cuts to cover a more than $3 million deficit the city was facing due to increasing pension costs and low revenue. 

—Zac Ezzone

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