RIVERSIDE – At least one Riverside County code enforcement officer laid off due to county budget cuts could be back on the job soon, thanks to an $80,000 allocation today by Supervisor Jeff Stone.
The supervisor pledged to withdraw funds directly from his community improvement budget in support of code enforcement operations.
”Our budget cuts (over the last four years) have been chipping away at code enforcement officers and managers,” Stone said. ”We’re pushing code enforcement officers below a safe threshold. There’s only so much one human being can do.”
Stone sought to multiply his $80,000 to the Department of Code Enforcement by five. But Supervisors Marion Ashley, John Benoit and Kevin Jeffries declined to match their colleague’s contribution, saying their own community improvement budgets were either tapped out or dangerously lean with still five months to go in the 2012-13 fiscal year.
Supervisor John Tavaglione was absent.
Each supervisor is provided between $380,000 and $593,000 in community improvement funds to spend at his discretion at the start of each fiscal year.
Code enforcement officers inspect properties to identify violations, including rubbish piles, broken-down vehicles, overgrown lawns and dwellings in disrepair, issuing tickets if the defects aren’t corrected within a specified period of time.
Stone’s chief of staff, Verne Lauritzen, estimated the supervisor’s appropriation would restore two or three positions. But county Deputy Chief of Human Resources John Mooney told City News Service the money would only pay for one mid-level officer, when taking both salary and benefits into consideration.
Lauritzen said all of Stone’s disbursal will be spent on code enforcement officers in the supervisor’s Third District, encompassing most of southwest Riverside County — from the Hemet Valley to Temecula.