City officials want to crack down on offenders, which is why City Council is considering revisions to existing legislation that could see businesses or private individuals fined up to $1,000 a day for the number of days that dirty conditions go uncleaned.
Council’s Safety Committee discussed the pending changes this week.
Mayor David Gillock sounded adamant when it came to the whether violators should be warned.
“No warnings should be given, period,” Gillock said. “We need to have the ability to tell people they can’t do that. They get the mess cleaned up immediately or we’re going to cite them.”
The city has not experienced any notable problems with contractors to date, according to Gillock, who cited one recent instance in which a resident was doing his own construction work and put gravel in his driveway, which later resulted in mud and debris being brought out onto the street.
“It hasn’t been a widespread problem,” Gillock said. “We’re just trying to fix it so it doesn’t become one.”
Councilwoman Roseanne Johnson, R-at large, questioned wording in the ordinance that termed violations as “unclassified” administrative misdemeanors.
Law Director Andrew Crites said at the time violations are termed “unclassified” instead of first- or second-degree misdemeanors because the citations would be fall under the category of civil rather than criminal and be issued by the city Engineer’s Department instead of police.
Subsequent violations could be elevated to a higher misdemeanor status.
The Safety Committee, which is chaired by Councilman Ron Arndt, R-2nd Ward, is awaiting further clarification on wording of the ordinance from Crites before making a final recommendation to the full City Council for a vote.
While the thrust of the ordinance looks to reduce dumping or dropping of dirt and other debris on city streets by construction or landscaping vehicles, the measure could also apply to privately owned vehicles such as pickups.
Councilman Robert Olesen, R-4th Ward, asked whether a farmer driving a tractor or other farm implement onto the road that inadvertently leaves dirt behind would be included as a potential violator.
The answer was yes, according to Gillock.
“He shouldn’t be bringing any dirt out onto the road, either,” the mayor said.