Posted: Aug 27, 2013 5:01 PM by Chris Nakamoto
Updated: Aug 27, 2013 5:11 PM
BATON ROUGE - "Ineffective" and "inefficient" are words the East Baton Rouge Parish attorney's office used to describe the city's Litter Court program, which is currently on hold after it was dismantled five months ago.
The Office of the Parish Attorney said it was taking too long to recoup money after blighted properties were cleaned up.
George Scott has lived in South Baton Rouge for 50 years. He currently lives across the street from a row of blighted houses, and wants something done about it now.
"I wish the City-Parish would do something," Scott said. "I don't mean next year, I mean ASAP."
Across the street from Scott's home, brush is growing as tall as the houses. Weeds are swallowing up cars in driveways, and there's concern about kids in the neighborhood playing nearby.
The city's Litter Court Enforcement Program was designed to address problem spots like these. However, other issues caused the program to stop operating in March. Now the city is switching to a new system which will better document the work done. New software will help keep track of the progress, and should be brought online next year.
"The ball was actually dropped because we didn't have a good enough work order system inside the Department of Public Works," Chief Administrative Officer William Daniel said. "That's part of the reorganization."
For residents, the big question remains: if the ambitious litter court project didn't work in 2009, how can residents be confident this new idea will work?
"Litter court was a really good idea when it was thought of a few years ago, but the thinking wasn't put into how we would write the code enforcement to actually get the lien on there," Daniel said. "Great concept, but details weren't worked out as they should have been, so we are now working out those details."
But for people like Scott, waiting until next year isn't good enough.
"It's disgusting, it really is," Scott said.
City leaders did not have a price tag on how much it will cost to implement the new system. Once it gets going at the start of next year, Litter Court will resume. We're told their systems will be automated as well so everyone is on the same page.