EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


December 27, 2013

2013 busy year for many city workers

Police made about four arrests on average day; firefighters responded to 13 medical calls per day

HAVERHILL — It was a busy year for cops, firefighters, restaurant inspectors, pothole fillers and many other city workers, according to an end-of-the-year report by the mayor’s office.

Mayor James Fiorentini said the Highway Department patched 896 potholes in 2013, up 62 percent from 552 in 2012. He attributed the increase to a contest the city launched last spring in which people were invited to call in the location of potholes.

“Fixing potholes is a money-saver because it’s preventative maintenance that eliminates the need to do more expensive repairs and repaving later,” the mayor said, adding he expects to do another contest next spring.

Highway crews also paved six miles of roadway and swept 1,467 streets, both increases over the prior year, Fiorentini said.

The city’s Inspectional Services department, which is often criticized for being understaffed, issued 10,076 permits and performed 11,949 inspections in 2013, the mayor said.

Fiorentini said the city has just two building inspectors and two health inspections, who oversee Haverhill’s many restaurants and bars. The mayor said he would like to add more in the future depending on the city’s finances.

“I always knew our inspectors were busy, but I was surprised by the numbers just how heavy their workload is,” the mayor said. “Keeping the city clean and attractive is an important quality of life issue, so these inspections and what they do is extremely important.”

The mayor noted the city recently hired an abandoned buildings inspector who will split his time with Methuen. The position is being funded by a two-year state grant, he said.

Inspectors also were busy handing out warning notices and fines.

The mayor said Inspectional Services mailed 649 trash violations letters, 706 housing code violation letters and 297 building code violations notices. They also filed 206 court cases against residents who failed to pay fines, Fiorentini said.

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