Code Enforcement in Chautauqua County - Baseline of Current Conditions
CGR undertook a comprehensive review of local code enforcement systems in Chautauqua County to determine what role the County might play in enhancing local code enforcement. The project was based on CGR’s earlier study for Tioga County, with more focus on potential options and their implementation. The project was divided into three phases, with accompanying reports: a Baseline phase & report, documenting the current conditions; an Options phase & report, presenting options for improvements; and an Implementation Roadmap report, with more detail on executing specific chosen options. Conclusions were that code enforcement is a patchwork of municipal systems, some of which are working well and others of which are struggling, that is having problems strongly enforcing sanctions on code violators. The Options and Implementation phases examined potential solutions to a range of specific issues. While the client was very pleased with the comprehensive nature of all stages of the work, the project went significantly overbudget, principally due to the limited experience of the lead researcher (Bezila) in project management and budgeting. Significant amounts of time were spent on initial data gathering and generating a comprehensive listing of permit fees. Secondarily, this was due to basing the cost estimate on the Tioga County project, which was significantly smaller in scope, with only one project report, instead of three, and half as many CEOs to interview. Future work in this vein should not simply accept the client’s proposed scope, but adjust this based on budget constraints. Future projects should aim to limit on-the-ground trips, consider whether collecting and standardized local permit fee information is worth the time, and instead focus on highlights and overall takeaways, derived from surveys and bulk interviews with CEOs, combined with the same for municipal leaders.