The City is looking to partner with residents to address housing issues in response to recent feedback from the 2021 Community Survey.
The survey showed only 23% of residents were satisfied with City enforcement of home/property maintenance issues, and 63% think the City should increase efforts to ensure private property is well maintained.
In response, City Code Enforcement Officer Curtis Wheeler is asking residents who receive letters from his office to engage so that a solution can be found.
“If you get something from us, please don’t ignore it,” Wheeler said. “If you reach out, we can work with you on timelines, look for programs and partner with homeowners to help.”
Wheeler said code enforcement is about protecting the quality of housing stock in Atchison neighborhoods, to protect property values and ensure that housing is available for generations to come.
“We don’t enjoy sending citations out,” Wheeler said. “But if we allow our properties to decay, they eventually have to be demolished and that means less housing – especially affordable housing – for residents.”
Citations can result in fines from $50 to $500 per day should the matter go to municipal court, but Assistant City Manager Joe Warren said that is not the preferred route.
“The municipal court process is not the most efficient way to handle this, so we would only go that route if property owners refused to work with the City,” Warren said. “It’s not about generating revenue. It’s about improving the quality of life for Atchison residents.”
Residents can expect to see Wheeler out in neighborhoods throughout the summer and fall and are encouraged to reach out if there are any questions. Residents can call 367-5560 to reach the Code Enforcement Office.
“This is the local government trying to be responsive to the wants and needs of its residents,” Warren said.