Porterdale looks to bring homes in the city up to code with a new code enforcement officer. Willie Milligan now serves part time as Porterdale's combination housing inspector/code enforcement officer. City manager Bob Thomson said Milligan was sworn in to the position at the Nov. 5 council meeting.
Thomson said the city has had several problems with keeping properties and homes up to code. He explained some of the problems the city has seen and how a new code enforcement officer would help the city.
"A lot of the problems that we have run into the last couple of years are related to structural issues and not just city code problems; like trash and debris and that kind of thing," he said.
"For instance, if he noticed a porch broken or busted, or if he notices a window that needs to be repaired in the course of his enforcement or something else, he can address those issues because he knows the building codes very well," Thomson said.
Thomson explained that the city's police department had been given the responsibility to enforce building codes. He explained that the officers knew municipal ordinances and several other codes, but they didn't necessarily know all of the building codes and that's why they decided to put a code enforcement officer in place.
"He inspects buildings throughout the county and he's got all of these certifications," Thomson said. "He indicated a willingness to help us out, so we're using him."
Milligan, who owns and operates Milligan Electric and Plumbing, said he retired as an inspector from DeKalb County in 2007. He also has worked as a jurisdictional inspector for the county.
The Covington resident and Porterdale native came across the job of being a combination housing inspector/code enforcement officer for the city of Porterdale while working on several homes in the city, including Thomson's.
"He found out that I was a retired inspector and he asked if I would be willing to do some inspections for the city of Porterdale," Milligan said.
"I grew up there and I wanted to see the town restored back to what it used to be. It just seemed like it had got to the point where people were doing what ever they wanted to do to their houses and there was no enforcement."
Milligan explained his position and what the job entitled.
"Building codes, plumbing codes, electrical codes, HVAC codes; all of these codes are basically the law that we have to abide by. These codes are the law in the state of Georgia. An ordinance that is passed by the local city council is also enforceable. You have to combine both of these together to make sure that everything that's coming down is done properly and correctly and that it's not causing a hazard to the community or to the individuals who are living there in that property," Milligan said.
Thomson said Porterdale has not had a code enforcement officer for a few years. He said now that the city has one he hopes they can improve the conditions of the homes and properties in the city.
"Back when the economy was better and they were building a lot down here, we had a code enforcing inspector position, but this is the first one we have had in a while," he said.
"We just need to make sure that the houses in Porterdale are kept in good condition; not only for the appearance, but for the living conditions of the residents."
Milligan will be paid an entry-level hourly rate for a police officer, which Thomson said is about $17 per hour.