Scottville considering outsourcing some enforcement services

May 8, 2023

Scottville considering outsourcing some enforcement services

SCOTTVILLE — Scottville City Commission will consider a proposal today from SafeBuilt Michigan, LLC. which would include zoning and ordinance (code) enforcement, rental inspection, and permitting services, which will be provided on a fee, hourly and monthly basis. The commission will hold a regular meeting at 6 p.m. at city hall, 105 N. Main St.

The rental inspection portion of the contract will be based on inspection fees. Code enforcement services would be charged at a rate of $65 per hour. City Manager Jimmy Newkirk said currently code enforcement is handled by the Scottville Police Department. 

“While the police department and City Hall will still have authority to enforce the city’s ordinances, outsourcing the majority of those duties will allow our police department to do what’s it’s supposed to do, and that’s law enforcement.” 

Mayor Marcy Spencer said the move to outsources those services is good for the city. 

“Over the past several years the city commission has worked hard to make Scottville a better place to live,” Spencer said. “Much of this effort has been through the enforcement of the city’s blight ordinances and also by adopting a rental inspection ordinance. Many of the tasks of blight ordinance enforcement have been handled by the police department. But, it takes up a considerable amount of time. This will be much more efficient as SafeBuilt is a company that handles these services in multiple towns across the country.” 

Locally, SafeBuilt currently contracts with the City of Manistee. It’s proposed services to Scottville would include: 

  • Code enforcement services. 
  • Rental housing/property maintenance services.
  • Zoning permit review and administration services. 

Newkirk said the annual services with SafeBuilt will cost the city about $65,000 a year. 

“Given the cost and difficulty of hiring police officers I am recommending we remove these responsibilities from our current police staff and let them do law enforcement,” Newkirk said. “With a police officer handling zoning and ordinance compliance we pay for wages, benefits, police level insurance, fuel, maintain records, photos, and spend more time than we should on the numerous follow-ups that are required. We create all the documents, mailing, photos, and have other staff taking calls and questions when issues arise. You don’t have to go far to see there is a need outside of zoning and ordinances. 

“With the opening of a (marijuana) dispensary, numerous speeding issues, parking enforcement, in addition to routine daily law enforcement calls there is plenty to do. I current spend at least two hours a day on zoning and building questions, permits, and documentation.. Chickens, sheds, fences, signs, building permits, zoning requests, fees, are all steadily increasing. I end up doing site inspections on evenings and weekends as homeowners aren’t around during the workday. I know these weren’t done before but they are an important part of building that show the city cares and has an interest in what is being built. I always want employees working in an area of their strength. These areas are not getting the attention they deserve in a rapidly changing city we have become.

The commission’s Ordinance and Public Safety Committee and Personnel, Rules and Ethics Committee have each endorsed utilizing SafeBuilt’s services. 

The commission is also expected to take action on the city’s 2022-2023 budget. 

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