OSWEGO — Early returns on this year’s code enforcement blitz are positive, according to city officials who said they were “very pleased” with the 10-day sweep instituted in an attempt to prevent trash and furniture from accumulating outside properties in the west side of Oswego.
Now an annual Port City tradition under the leadership of Mayor Billy Barlow to coincide with the end of the SUNY Oswego semester, the code blitz ran from May 17-27, and encompassed areas in the first and third wards from state Route 104 to Lake Street.
“After two years of blitzing, landlords have started to make adjustments, be proactive, and plan ahead resulting in fewer violations,” Barlow said, noting a letter from his office was mailed to landlords in advance of the program.
Barlow cited a decrease in the number of infractions issued this year compared to last year’s blitz. The 2018 effort saw 162 tickets and warnings filed, compared to the 128 compiled by officials this year.
The letter sent by the mayor to landlords urged them to devise a plan on how to manage garbage bags and debris within their own properties, as well as prohibiting property owners from stockpiling clutter outside for days at a time.
While 125 of the residents ticketed timely complied with city ordinances, Code Enforcement Director Curt Miller said three property owners did not follow the city’s guidelines and called it a “rare occurrence.”
The three property owners were arrested and charged with violations of city ordinances such as LOC 249-5 B, which refers to garbage and refuse disposal.
“Garbage and refuse originated from private and multiple dwelling shall be drained of surplus liquid and securely wrapped in paper or plastic bags prior to disposition in an approved collection container,” the ordinance states.
Those scofflaws notwithstanding, Barlow said the blitz is responsible for a “change in the culture” in the way city residents dispose of garbage and debris.
“I believe we’ve really changed the culture here in the city and there is no bigger observation of that than during move out weekend,” Barlow said. “Traditionally the neighborhoods would look like a war zone with curbside stock piling, left over old furniture sitting out for days, trash and debris build up, and other violations due to tenants leaving and landlords not being responsive.”
Barlow also thanked code enforcement and law enforcement officials for cracking down on violators.
“This year we saw very little of that and it’s a real testament to our code enforcement program and the constant patrols and pressure we’ve applied,” the mayor said. “I appreciate the staff in our code and police departments for working hard to make this a success, and thank the landlords who heeded my warning and made plans ahead of time to avoid blight in our neighborhoods and issues for our neighbors.”