Friday, December 4, 2009


City Making the Cut – Cutting More Properties in Half the Time

As the high weeds and grass season comes to a close, the City releases its report on achieving greater efficiencies and improved service for cutting down high weeds and grass.

In its first year of operating the high weeds and grass program, the Office of Code Enforcement has mowed more than 9,000 properties over the past six months – four times the number of properties than the previous year. The Office of Code Enforcement was created by Mayor Greg Ballard to focus on quality of life functions that can significantly impact the health and safety of citizens.

“Each summer high weeds and grass is the top call to the Mayor’s Action Center, and the City must be prepared to tackle these property maintenance issues before they become a public nuisance,” said Mayor Greg Ballard. “The Office of Code Enforcement has quickly proven its effectiveness by achieving a record amount of mowing while simultaneously decreasing response time.”

To prepare for the mowing season, the Office of Code Enforcement utilized Six Sigma expertise to develop a data measurement plan to identify ways to improve efficiency and measurably decrease the call-to-cut time for mowing high weeds and grass – the time period between a citizen reporting a problem property to the Mayor’s Action Center and the date it receives its first mow. As a result, the Office of Code Enforcement effectively decreased the call-to-cut time by more than half despite the increase in number of problem properties. The high weeds and grass report includes:

· Call-to-Cut Time: 17 days (42 in 2008)

· 14,112 Investigations

· 10,921 High Weeds & Grass Cases (5,431 in 2008)

· 9,101 Properties mowed (2,144 in 2008)

· 2,742 Property re-mows (337 in 2008)

(2009 numbers as of 12/2/09; 2008 numbers per Six Sigma Project)

Changes in the 2009 high weeds and grass program included the dedication of a full-time inspection staff to inspect properties within one business day of being reported; reducing the number of days from 10 to 5 for a citizen to abate a violation and requiring only one notice of violation per year; using mowing vendors as city agents to re-inspect properties in violation to either report voluntary compliance or proceed in cutting the property while onsite to reduce additional wait time; and scheduled problem properties to be mowed every 28 days until the property owner takes responsibility for cutting the property.

“Measuring programs we administer is essential in tracking the progress of City operations, identifying ways to deliver a more effective service, and remaining accountable to citizens through true data measurement,” said Rick Powers, Director of the Office of Code Enforcement. “Although we believe we had a successful mowing season, we will review the high weeds and grass program in its entirety to identify any additional improvements that could be made for the 2010 season.”

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