NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. -- A prominent political figure in Jacksonville is speaking out, but not about pension problems or the city budget. Former Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney has new concerns about code enforcement at Neptune Beach.
First Street near the Beaches Town Center is a scenic stroll with quaint storefronts. It's a staple for any tourist in town.
But some fear the blooming beauty in Neptune Beach is on a downward spiral.
Just a few blocks away, Action News spotted cars parked in yards, overgrown grass, exposed cable wires and chicken wire stapled to a rickety fence on Third St.
These eyesores recently caught the attention of Delaney who wrote a lengthy complaint to Neptune Beach City Hall calling for more code enforcement.
"A lot of the problem too is we have a lot of absentee landlords who really don't care," said Mayor Harriet Pruette. "They really don't care."
From one mayor to another, both agree the city needs to shell out taxpayer dollars to hire a part-time code enforcement official.
One wasn't readily available July 4 when a partiers packed a deck on First Street. Delaney wrote the collapse could have turned deadly.
Bill Fieldson disagrees with both leaders and said imperfect properties are in every community.
"I think that there's maybe bigger fish to fry," said Fieldson.
The city manager reports there have been more than 400 garbage complaints filed since November. Code violators typically receive a warning and could face a fine if it's not fixed within 10 days.
Pruette says it's up to City Council members now to figure out if hiring a code enforcement official is worth city funding.