In a wide-ranging discussion Lake County Commissioner Mark Albertson and the Lakeview Town Council discussed an nuisance code enforcement officer at its work session on Wednesday, Feb. 17.
After initially bringing up the idea of the Town and County splitting the cost of the position at a previous Council meeting, Albertson said that the Council and the Commissioners should have a combined work session to hash out the details in the future. But his focus right now for both entities is to make sure that both can afford to fund the position.
Council Member Scott Langum said he would like some hard and fast numbers for how much it will cost the Town. Albertson said that the combined salary and benefits, as the position would be a County employee, would cost around $100,000 per year. Langum wants to make sure the position is sustainable.
“I would hate to see us hire someone only to have to lay them off in a year,” Langum said.
Lakeview Mayor Ray Turner said that the Town will begin its budgeting process next month and will know more for sure on its ability to afford its portion of the position. Albertson said that on the County’s side they need to know if the Town is able to afford its half by the beginning of May so that they can budget for the position.
“We really can’t afford the position without the Town’s portion,” said Albertson.
Council Member Shannon Theall said a lot has to be done to harmonize the Town and County’s nuisance property ordinances, which Albertson hopes to complete at an upcoming combined work session.
After funding is addressed, the Town and County will discuss which model to follow — Bend’s or Medford’s.
Council Member Niki Taylor said that the position needs to be sustainable for multiple years, and that it needs to be a priority and the lack of enforcement powers on both the Town and County have created an issue across the board. Albertson agreed and has said that the lack of teeth in both ordinances is leading to property owners ignoring abatement letters that are being sent.
Under the proposed Bend model, if people ignore the letters requesting that their properties be cleaned up or ignore a fine that has been levied, the nuisance ordinance officer can then file a citation with the Lake County Circuit Court and then the court would handle the case. Right now, under state law, fines levied against animals go first to the State and then it is distributed to the communities. While other monies go directly to the community that levied the fine against the property owner.
The idea of putting out large roll off trash containers in alleyways and other locations was brought up by a community member. While there are occasional weeks throughout the year when the Town puts them out, Albertson said that the program has a large impact on the County’s budget and negatively impacts revenue at the Thomas Creek Landfill. He is worried about the free rider problem, where people will allow trash to pile up all year until free dump days.
There are still a lot of items to be worked out before either the County or Town moves forward and fills the position.
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