City again preparing to enforce vehicle law
Because of recent city staff changes, officials let the ball drop on enforcing a motor vehicle nuisance ordinance.
But now, enforcement is back on track.
The problem occurred when the city lost its clerk and administrator.
"Basically, we had to start over," said Karen Daniels deputy city clerk. "We cannot rely on the letters that were already sent. One of the police officers gave us a new list and took pictures again."
The city is targeting vehicles that generally are inoperative or abandoned in an effort to clear them from the city.
"Once we enforce the ordinance and get everything cleaned up, we won't have such a huge problem in the future," said Ray Usher, city council member. "Then, it will just be a matter of keeping up with things."
Before the city can send out letters notifying property owners of a violation, police officers have to investigate.
Currently, several officers are looking for violations.
It makes it confusing keeping track of everything because so many people are involved. Police Chief Kenny Carpenter said he would prefer that just one person be in charge of finding the violations.
Carpenter said 80 percent of violators remedy the situation.
"Most people that get letters will fix the problem," Carpenter said. "But a lot don't know they are in violation."
Removing eyesores is the goal.
"The intent is not to bring someone to court and force them to pay fines," Daniels said. "The council's interest is in getting the mess cleaned up."
If a violator doesn't alleviate the problem, a municipal court judge can levy a fine that can increase daily until the problem is alleviated, Daniels said.
Daniels said the city has made of lot of progress and officials don't want to drop the ball again.
Fifteen letters have been sent since Daniels became deputy city clerk this spring. All but one property owner complied. The pending case involves property owned by Steve Trieb.
"We have made some progress in getting things back on track," Daniels said. "It just takes a lot of time."