A recent article in the Citizen quoted a Lehigh planning council member saying in essence that code enforcement in Lehigh Acres was pretty much invisible. That was clearly an exaggeration, but I wanted your readers to know first-hand what in fact is happening with code enforcement in Lehigh today.
As you know, the challenges to code enforcement efforts relating to the recession were the most difficult in the community's history. It has been my honor to represent Lehigh beginning in 2006, about a year before the recession really caught on.
The half built and abandoned houses were a major problem almost since the day I began serving as a Lee County commissioner.
Early on I was privileged to meet with one of Lehigh's most outstanding citizens, George Syzmanski, who was very helpful to me in understanding how serious the problem in fact was. Even with county revenues plummeting, we saw to it that code enforcement efforts were enhanced to meet the challenge.
But with thousands of abandoned houses to deal with, it was an awesome undertaking and solving the problem was indeed difficult. And response time sometimes took several days. At one time we had shifted four additional inspectors to supplement the efforts of the five normally on duty in Lehigh.
I am very happy to report that today over 90 percent of our complaints are responded to within 24 hours or less. And, since last April, we have added weekends to the regular schedule of code enforcement officers.
Those weekend efforts target especially big trucks and street vendors. Also, in addition to simply responding to citizen complaints, our officers file over half of all cases themselves. Never in recent memory have we been as up to date with code enforcement matters as we are today. But, as you know, the job is never done, and our efforts will never slacken.
We try to publicize the phone number for code violation reports, but still there are citizens who have trouble finding it. For your own records here it is again, (239) 533-8895. If you misplace that one, you can always call my own office directly, (239) 533-2225. And as always, no matter what the issue with your county government might be, there is no need to wait until the next council meeting to look for answers.
Please call my office, and my most capable assistant, Christine Berry, will almost certainly be able to help you. And she can always track me down as well to pitch in if needed.
And finally, let me thank each and every member of the Lehigh Acres Community Planning Council for their willingness to devote their time, talents and various resources to making a great community even greater.
Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann is the representative for District 5 on Lee County Board of County Commissioners.