A year ago, I wrote an editorial explaining why cities, specifically the City of Beatrice in our case, adopt and enforce building codes, and why we require building permits.
If you read that article you may remember the main reason was to make sure contractors and owners are meeting the minimum standards of construction to ensure that you are occupying a safe structure whether it’s a house, garage, office building, convenience store, department store, or any other structure.
As the “building season” is in full swing I really wanted to copy and paste that article for my editorial again because we regularly receive many questions that can be answered by reading that article, but I figured I better not, in fear that “The Boss” would reject it and make me fulfill a minimum standard of work.
So, this time around I chose to write about our International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC). The IPMC is an important book of codes for our community as it lays out what the minimum standards are for property owners and tenants to keep their property maintained, nuisance free, and safe for someone to occupy.
Currently, the City of Beatrice has the 2009 IPMC adopted into code and has enforcement mechanisms in place to make sure these codes are being met.
The IPMC regulates many aspects of maintenance on a property, including: sanitation, grading and drainage, rodent harborage, sidewalks and driveways, accessory structures, structural components, roofing, flooring, chimneys, protective treatments, stairs, decks, windows, doors, pest, rubbish, lighting, ventilation, plumbing systems, mechanical systems, electrical systems, and fire safety protection just to name a few.
I encourage you to go to the Beatrice Public Library or search the internet and read these codes, as they can be very interesting.
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The main mechanism in place to enforce the IPMC is the recent hiring of a full-time Code Compliance Officer (CCO). Our CCO, Chet McGrury, is a lifelong resident of the City of Beatrice and takes great pride in his community.
Some of you may have already met Chet, others may have received a warm welcoming letter from him politely asking you to clean-up a few things on your property, and others may have received a “nasty” letter from him telling you to clean-up a few things on your property.
Whatever the case may be, I know you’ve all been treated fairly, equally, and respectfully, because Chet is said to be “one of the nicest guys I know”. Letters, postings, or phone calls from our CCO our not meant to be “mean” or “nasty”, as they are often described by those receiving them, but are meant to respectfully advise you that you are in violation of City Codes adopted by your local governing body, the City Council.
While the City Council has many responsibilities to its citizens, some of its responsibilities are to ensure the City is being managed in a way to promote a better standard of living, increase opportunities, and promote positive growth from both inside our community and outside our community.
The fact that the City Council has written the IPMC into the City laws and approved the mechanisms to enforce it, is a relatively small piece of the puzzle to improve the City of Beatrice in the big picture. Which reminds me of a quote I recently read, “The human tendency to regard little things as important has produced very many great things” – Georg C. Lichtenberg.
The moral of this article is to encourage you, the citizens of Beatrice, to do the little things on your property. If you maintain the little things on your property that may only cost a little effort and a small amount of money today, then tomorrow they will not turn into big things that will cost you a lot of effort and a lot of money.
By you taking care of those little things it will improve our community as a whole and set us up for “many great things” in the future!