Reader: Hire codes enforcement officer

To the Editor,

Are you kidding me – Mount Airy’s chief of police is serving as the city’s interim codes enforcement officer?

With all due respect to Chief Dale Watson, who is obviously a “team player,” no one in Mount Airy – especially not the city commissioners – should expect, request, or even permit the chief of police to focus on anything other than actual law-enforcement duties.

Given the ever-increasing amount of drug-related activities that are prevalent in Mount Airy and surrounding communities, Chief Watson should be focusing his attention, and that of his officers, on preventing and fighting real crime – not dealing with the nuisance problems and reams of paperwork associated with monitoring slum lords, absentee homeowners, uncaring proprietors, and others who have no respect for themselves, their property, or their neighbors and their neighbors’ properties.

Question to commissioners: Have you no common sense? If you can quickly and comfortably pass resolution after resolution – approving the expenditure of $100,000-plus per annum for lawyers, financial advisors, political advisors, and other assorted gurus to help you justify the expenditure of millions of dollars to operate a theater company – then the least you can do is appropriately use taxpayer dollars to fund a well-defined, much-needed codes enforcement officer position and then give that professional the authority and resources needed to do the job properly.

After you do that, please have that person call me ASAP – because, for the past several years, my neighbors and I have complained repeatedly about the unsafe and unhealthy status of a vacant and dilapidated house on our street. To date, nothing noticeable has been done to correct the situation.

Then, finally, call Chief Watson and tell him to return fulltime to directing the law-enforcement activities of the Mount Airy Police Department – which city taxpayers expect and deserve from their chief of police.

Rebecca Harmon