SPRING CITY—At its recent meeting on Thursday, Feb. 3, the Spring City Council took steps that will allow the town’s nuisance ordinance to be enacted and enforced, which could lead to fines of up to $50 or $100 per day if a resident is found in noncompliance.
The city’s nuisance ordinance has a new draft in the works, which deals with complaints about long-term nuisances such as old cars or debris stored in a resident’s yard. New Police Chief Chad Huff, who was introduced to the council at the start of the meeting, is willing to start enforcing the current ordinance until the draft is finished, and believes the ordinances are enforceable. The problem lies in the fact that some residents are unwilling to comply with the city’s requests.
Huff explains the process: start with a letter or verbal contract, with hopes the resident will respond appropriately. If not, then a “voluntary agreement contract” will be introduced with a time limit on the necessary changes.
If the resident still doesn’t take action, then they move to an “administrative citation,” created by the police chief as he sees fit and approved by the council.
Considering the resident is still unwilling, then a fine will be set for $50 a day for the first week, and $100 a day continuing onward.
If that doesn’t change anything, the next step would be to give them a criminal citation. This, Huff said, does not guarantee the resident will fix the problem.
So, Huff mentioned asking the attorney to draft an “order” which would allow the city to hire someone to clean the property, sending the fee to the resident with ten days to pay.
In the case that the resident does not pay, the city would file a collections notice and place a lien on their property until the problem is resolved. All these steps are laid out in their ordinances already, and so it will have the power and authority of the court.
Huff says he doesn’t want to violate any rights but feels like this is a health and safety hazard for the residents.
Considering this as a last step, the mayor would like to publicize this enforcement first, so residents will have time to clean up the nuisance and hopefully avoid using the ordinance. The council is also wanting to provide the option of assistance, as necessary, through other residents who are willing to help or donate towards the issue, which will be discussed at a later date.
The council stated the importance of making sure residents are aware of all city ordinances, so they will be posting signs along the streets and putting notices on the city’s website. It is better to check with the city before starting any large projects to avoid complications, the city council says.
In regards to the city’s noise ordinance, the council approved that exceptions can be granted for special occasions by the city council as a temporary solution until the current ordinance is updated.
During public commentary, Kimberly Stewart, an attendee, brought up concerns with changing ordinances without getting public comment. Despite ordinances being changed, no resident has seen the drafts or has been able to make suggestions. The city council agreed that they should be able to and will look at approving draft posts on their website and sending social media notifications to residents.
In other council news, Mayor Chris Anderson started the meeting with a few letters he received from fourth graders who requested a ban on plastic bags. Although there is no grocery store for them to ban grocery bags from, Anderson mentions we should still do all we can to recycle and use fewer plastics.
In a department report, Councilman Tim Clark mentioned power problems by the hydroplant, with repairs currently in progress. He is also looking at a project started in 2012 in Idaho that uses “pellets” (a biomass product made from renewable resources) as a source of energy.
If a similar project were to be started in Spring City, it could be paid off in 40 years, with a life expectancy of 80 years, and would be 5-cents per kilowatt per hour, compared to the current 9-cents per kilowatt per hour.
Police Chief Chad Huff then reported on the fire department going to winter fire school and the Wildland Emergency Response class. They have plans to take this training and provide it to other individuals as well.
The meeting continued with Brad Hansen, a resident, requesting a water hook-up to a location east of where he lives. He and others in his area have been without water for two months and are looking to resolve this issue as quickly and simply as possible. They plan on absorbing all of the costs but need approval to move forward.
According to the council, they first need to discuss it with an engineer, as their extension would need to meet state code, which has been recently updated.