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Short staffing leads to tall trash piles

Tucson Code Enforcement needs more inspectors
Posted at 7:13 PM, Feb 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-08 21:13:00-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — While you may be a good neighbor, the City of Tucson is having trouble keeping up with the people who aren’t.

A lot of issues are piling up that interfere with the City of Tucson’s ability to make careless neighbors clean up.

Someone cleans up their house, clears out their garage, and inflicts their mess on their neighbors, leaving it piled in the alley.

Joan Hall is President of the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association, near Campbell and Grant. She says, “We've seen the number of cases go up and up and up over the last few years.”

The City Solid Waste Department collects brush and bulky items but only twice a year—and a lot can pile up in the six months between pickups.

Hall says you can arrange for the city to pick up large trash outside of the designated brush and brusky collections. She says most property owners know how the process works but the careless one’s dump their stuff anyway—and that stuff is more than just an eyesore.

“If there’s food or anything in there it would be rats. It could be kids playing on this with nails sticking out, that kind of thing.”

Ward 3 Councilmember Kevin Dahl says the city has just six code enforcement inspectors—a finite resource trying to keep up with our nearly infinite inclination to trash our environment.

“We're understaffed, it's clear, we're understaffed in that area. We're going to go through a budget process and getting more support for code enforcement for building enforcement, for planning services and development department. Those are all on my checklist for the next budget.”

But Dahl says hiring more officers to fight trash and clutter can be tough right now. The job market’s hot. Private employers are offering higher pay, and COVID has workers less interested in in-person jobs that can call for dealing with trash, then tracking down the trashers to make them clean up.

Dahl says despite those challenges, don’t give up on a clean up. You can file complaints online, or call your city council office for help.

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