The North Bend Eagle

 

City wants tighter enforcement on ordinances

by Nathan Arneal
Published 10/10/18

The city council wants to tighten up its ordinance enforcement and needs the help of the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office to do so.

The city contracts with the county for its police protection and law enforcement. The city of North Bend submits a list of ordinance violations to the sheriff for deputies to follow up on. City council members have expressed concerns that the sheriff’s office is not keeping up with its enforcement duties.

The city council recently sent a letter to the sheriff and the Dodge County Board of Supervisors addressing its concerns and did not receive a reply, city clerk Theresa Busse told the council at its Oct. 2 meeting. That didn’t sit well with members of the council.

“We pay them $6,000 a month and they don’t respond to a question?” councilman Bart Bosco asked.

Busse said she spoke to sheriff Steve Hespen before sending the letter, and deputies were soon seen in town checking properties on the city’s list. The problem was, Busse said, that the deputies had fallen so far behind that some of the complaints they were checking on were months old and had long ago been resolved.

Many of the complaints involve unlicensed or inoperable vehicles. Busse cited one property that has been on the city’s list for years that has several such vehicles on it.

Busse also said the deputies have the ability to issue tickets for unlicensed vehicles on the spot but usually don’t.

“That’s a problem we have,” Busse said. “(Sheriff deputies) talk to the people and they’ll say, ‘We’ll give you a couple of weeks to get it taken care of,’ but then they never come back to see if they get it taken care of.”

Busse also mentioned a few other nuisance properties that had been sent letters without the property owners resolving the nuisance. Technically, property owners in violation of city ordinances can be fined up to $500 a day once Dodge County deputies issue a citation. She asked the council if it wanted to move forward with citations.

“I would,” Bosco said. “It doesn’t do any good to have rules if you don’t act on them. I’d have Dodge County come out and issue a citation.”

The council also instructed Busse to ask the sheriff how much warning it has to give before towing a vehicle in violation of city ordinances.

“The only reason I think it’s time to start playing hardball, is they totally ignore us if we don’t,” Bosco said.

Immediately after this discussion, the council was asked to consider the County Board of Supervisors’ request to extend its law enforcement contract with the county for another year at $6,232.27 a month, an increase of $128.19 from the previous rate. The contract was approved.

In other business, the council held a public hearing on the possibility of a property swap with an eye toward building new ball parks on the newly acquired land.

The city would give four lots owned by the city north of the water tower in exchange for eight lots on the east end of town. The east lots are undeveloped, without paved streets, water or sewer access. The four lots the city would be giving up already have access to those utilities.

The council decided to continue negotiations with the property owners to see if an agreement could be reached.

 

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