Polk may enlist robots in battle against signage - FOX 13 News

Polk may enlist robots in battle against signage

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Businesses that put up illegal signs may be in for a rude awakening.

Lakeland and Polk County are considering robo-calling them. A computer would keep calling the businesses over and over again to pressure them to take their signs down.

No decisions have been made yet, but robo-calling seems like a possible solution to the unsightly sign problem, according to Kevin Cook, a spokesman for the city of Lakeland.

"We are at the beginning stage of the process, so it would have to be approved," Cook told FOX 13. "But it is something code enforcement is definitely looking at."

It would save time and money. Right now, Lakeland has one code enforcement officer assigned full-time to taking down illegal signs. A robo-calling program can cost as little as $300.

Cook says if Lakeland does opt for robo-calling, the code enforcement officer would take on other responsibilities.

Other communities in Florida and around the country have started robo-calling businesses with dramatic results.

Jerry Scharf, a marketing executive for Voicent, a company that sells robo-calling software, cites an "80- to 90-percent reduction in signs attributed to using these robo calls."

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