The City of Blountstown's Code Enforcement Division has a new, but familiar face. Fire Chief Ben Hall has taken the reigns of the city's cleanup code enforcement and has hit the ground running, quite literally.
"I enjoy running in the early mornings and evenings and, while I'm out and about in the neighborhoods, I keep an eye out for code violations". When the cleanup code was first introduced, there were some misconceptions. "We're not the 'mow your grass' police", says Hall. "We just want Blountstown to look good. Thousands of cars pass through Blountstown each day. Locals, tourists and those just passing through. We want them to look at our City and remember it for its welcoming people and its clean streets."
While Chief Hall admits the code isn't the "mow your grass patrol", he is quick to outline some of the other details that are enforced. "Our number one concern is debris on the sidewalk and streetside. Couches, refrigerators and other white goods and construction debris are a daily issue".
Having these items out by the street within the City Limits will get you a visit from the Chief (although he would prefer you call him "Ben"). When asked how the enforcement process would be handled, Ben's response was very clear, "First, we're going to be nice! A kind visit, asking for some help keeping Blountstown clean and presentable. Most of this is just and education thing. Our citizens aren't aware we have Amnesty Months (every April and October). Then, if being nice just doesn't work, we'll start the Notice of Violation process which ends in a citation, a hearing with a special hearing officer and possible fines. I really don't want things to get to that point, so I do all I can to work with people on cleanup." April's Amnesty month is just around the corner. If you've been holding on to a couch, white goods, that old roll of carpet or other non-hazardous material it may be placed on the street side beginning April 1st and the City crews will pick it up. If you have any questions about Amnesty or the Code Enforcement Division, you can call Ben at 674-4988.