Some say Casselberry using code violations as money maker



CASSELBERRY, Fla. - Casselberry's aggressive new ordinances are raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars for the city.

City officials have already opened 2,500 new code enforcement cases this year.

Some residents feel the city is unfairly targeting them.

Longtime resident Rhonda Ovist has been a loud critic of Casselberry's recent ordinances that have sparked controversy.

Rules like no work trucks in driveways, no play sets out in front of houses and rules on what people can and cannot have in their car ports.

"These new rules are going to be putting an undue burden on the people who are least able to afford it in these really difficult economic fines," said Ovist.

WFTV's Bianca Castro learned that in 2010 the city collected $60,000 dollars in fines. So far this year, the city has taken in $365,000.

"That's just so obvious -- an income generating operation," said Ovist.

"When they became enforced, we never thought of it as a money maker," said Casselberry City Commissioner Sandi Solomon.

Solomon said the new crackdown is meant to clean up the city's image, to attract new businesses and homebuyers.

The city says a lion's share of the fines comes from banks that aren't keeping up with foreclosed home.

One home has been in violation since June of last year.

The most common offenses are the unsightly ones- overgrown yards and junk cars on property.

Still, critics see the fines as a tax on those who can't make their house as pretty as the city would like.

"When they say we are doing this for Casselberry -- which Casselberry? Who? Is it the people who live here, or the people you think should live here," said Ovist.

City officials plan to add another code enforcement officer next year to continue aggressive enforcements.