CODE ENFORCEMENT CON CARNE

Today’s Asbury Park Press has a story about dual efforts by Red Bank officials to address quality of life concerns: the noise ordinance aimed at bars and restaurants, and the hiring of a new bilingual code inspector to deal with overcrowded rental housing.

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Last week, the borough council announced the hiring of Eddie Araujo, an experienced code enforcement officer who worked most recently in Lakewood. Araujo’s hiring is to complement the work of fire inspector and code enforcement officer Frank E. Woods and the more targeted efforts of part-time inspector Jimmy Walker, who was brought on in January to address trash-and-junk issues.

From the Press, quoting Mayor Pasquale Menna:

In addition to enforcement, the new full-time inspector [Araujo] also will educate people about their responsibilities and that code enforcement officials are there to help them, he said.

“He’s bringing the message to people that code enforcement is for their own protection to make sure they’re not being taken advantage of by unscrupulous landlords,” Menna said. “It’s working out tremendously well.”

Araujo worked most recently in Lakewood, where overcrowding and housing safety issues “are ours times ten,” Councilwoman Grace Cangemi told redbankgreen last week.

She callled Araujo “an interesting and incredible guy” who “has already familiarized himself with the borough.”

The fact that Araujo speaks English and Spanish makes him particularly valuable, she said. Both Democrats and Republicans in last year’s council and mayoral races pressed for expansion of the code enforcement operation with bilingual officers.

“This is one of the holes we really needed to plug,” Cangemi said. “In practical terms, we have another guy writing ticket for overcrowding, etc., against landlords. But he can also talk to tenants to and explain to them their rights and responsibilities.”

Araujo’s addition to the force “is going to go a long way toward community outreach,” she said. It will also “pay for itself, and not just in terms of dollars and cents.”

According to Cangemi, Araujo is making his rounds at least one night a week with a police officer.

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