CHANGES TO NUISANCE ORDINANCE 8-17-11 LMS
An amendment to City Ordinance 11-775 was proposed to the Salmon City Council on August 17 and after detailed explanations the council passed the first of the three readings required to make the change.
The ordinance in question has to do with penalties for public nuisance code violations. The long list of nuisances subject to penalties includes such things as abandoned houses, animals, noxious weeds or unsightly and unsafe property conditions.
As the ordinance now reads a public nuisance offense falls under, and is subject to, criminal codes.
City Attorney Fred Snook explained that the amendment removes the criminal aspects now in effect and replaces them with a civil action. If approved the amended wording of Title 4, Chapter 2, Section 9 of the Salmon City code will read: “In addition, whenever it appears to the City Council that any person has engaged in any act or practice in violation of this chapter, the City Council may instruct the City Attorney, or his/her agent, to institute a civil action in the district court to enforce compliance with this chapter.”
Snook said the first step in any public nuisance complaint will still be to bring it before the City Council with the aim of working out a solution. He said, “Nobody wants to go to court but if it gets to that point that you have to go to court then the purpose of this is to give us a better option…instead of having them cited into criminal court.”
City Administrator George Ambrose said the present public nuisance code states an offender can be charged with a misdemeanor, fined and sent to jail. “What we’re trying to do is relax that so we don’t have to take that route.”
The amended language was suggested by City Prosecuting Attorney Bruce Withers and is based on ordinances used by other cities.
The first reading of the amended ordinance was passed unanimously.
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