Carroll city officials have hired a military veteran who served in Afghanistan — a resident of Calhoun County with a deep resume of local government experience — as its first-ever code compliance officer.
Rick Peugh, 36, started in the new position Monday. His salary is $49,102 annually. Peugh already has started doing rental housing inspections.
As the code compliance officer, Peugh will split duties three ways — inspecting rental properties; monitoring and developing the city’s sidewalk inspection and improvement plan; and handling code enforcement issues. Specifically, according to the job description, the compliance officer will be tasked with developing a process and program of completing rental property inspections, and enforcing city codes related to tall grass and weeds, junk vehicles, snow removal, tree removal, garbage, sidewalks and other related nuisance code complaints.
“One of the reasons that I find that it’s important is it helps keep the housing stock in good condition, and it helps give people a safe and healthy environment to live in,” Peugh said. “We don’t want houses falling behind in exterior and interior. We don’t want safety issues. This can help bridge the gap and keep challenging landlords and things like that from taking over the city.”
Peugh, who lives in Farnhamville, is a native of Bloomfield, in southern Iowa. He earned his associate’s degree at Des Moines Area Community College and bachelor’s at Iowa State University, where he majored in community and regional planning.
Peugh served in the U.S. Army Reserves for eight years, which included a tour in Afghanistan in 2014–15 where he was stationed at Bagram Air Base, the largest U.S. military installation in Afghanistan. He was involved in construction projects there.
Additionally, Peugh served as a planner for the council of governments that covers Calhoun County, Fort Dodge and much of the surrounding area. He’s also worked in construction.
He is engaged to Sarah Borkowski, an English teacher in the Southeast Valley School District, which is based in Gowrie and covers a sweep of that area of Iowa.
On Nov. 9, the City Council approved annual goals, one of which is: “We need to improve the public’s perception that Carroll is not as well maintained as in the past.”
Removing blighted homes and buildings or getting properties into better condition will be a main focus of the city in the next several years, Carroll City Manager Mike Pogge-Weaver said.
Carroll City Council members late last year approved the rental housing ordinance, a series of regulations and inspections designed to make apartments and rental houses, about one-third of the residences in the city, safer to inhabit.
The vote, which created the position Peugh now inhabits, came following a string of often-contentious meetings about the code in which advocates said lives are on the line, along with the image of Carroll and its property values, while a collection of angry landlords said the government is overreaching and treating them unfairly.
The rental-housing ordinance creates an inspection regime on a complaint basis or every three years with an annual permit fee of $35 for the first unit in a complex, and $10 every year for each additional unit. Landlords could be hit with municipal infractions of up to $500 if they fail to make corrections after inspections.
Smoke detectors now are required in the bedrooms of all rental units, and certain standards have to be met on electrical and plumbing work, with a host of other structural requirements city officials say are common in other cities and enhance the safety of tenants, law enforcement and firefighters who may be called to houses and apartment buildings.