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City commission approves amnesty program for businesses with outstanding code fines

Posted at 6:04 PM, Oct 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-28 18:38:32-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The City Commission's first in-person meeting in months got underway Wednesday, and at the top of the agenda list is relief for property owners with outstanding code enforcement fines.

The commission approved an amnesty program beginning in 2021 for property owners who have fixed their code violation issues and are left with the fine.

The program provides complete fine forgiveness for qualifying properties.

Proposed by the City Housing and Resilience Department, the program will cost the city an estimated $700,000.

It has a time limit of three months in the early part of 2021 and will forgive fines from $50 to $350.

The director of the HCR says many businesses can't afford outstanding fines and what matters is fixing the code violations.

"This is a pretty unprecedented economic time that we're in and for those that might be burdened by this idea of a fine and a lean on their property," said Abena Ojetay, the director of Housing and Community Resilience. "We're hoping that it could provide some relief."

There are over 1,200 cases within city limits with outstanding property fines. Of those, more than 700 are now in compliance with code but have outstanding balances.

The city has around $35 million of fines outstanding. They say that the full amount will most likely never be paid, but they are trying to help where they can.