Proposal for Natrona County Code Violators Gets Cold Response
The Natrona County Planner, who oversees code enforcement, is asking for refinements to the policy for zoning violations and nuisances.
Kristi Turner offered a way to help, which didn't go over well with the county commissioners.
Many of the nuisance property issues are brought by complaints, Turner wrote in a memo to the county commissioners.
There-fourths of the county residents notified of a violation will either correct it immediately or enter a compliance agreement with the Development Department, or otherwise face legal action, she wrote.
Tuesday, Turner spoke to the commissioners about encouraging code violators to clean up their properties by offering them passes to haul debris to Casper's landfill because disposal costs sometimes pose a barrier to compliance.
However, no policy exists to place a limit on the amount of money the county spends to help these residents, so she recommended commissioners craft a policy that would cap disposal assistance to $3,000 per property.
That ran into a buzzsaw of criticism from the commissioners.
Peter Nicolaysen said that amount seemed high, and it appears to reward code violators compared to people who pay to dispose of their own trash.
Turner responded that passes are for anyone who goes to her office, and that state law gives her the authority to do that.
Dallas Laird said the county should help people who can't afford it, but not help those who can, later adding the pass would be useful if someone's property was a hazard to themselves and others.
Commission Chairman Steve Freel said decsions should be on a case-by-case basis and suggested a $1,500 cap.
Jim Milne doubted the whole idea, especially using public funds for private purposes. "I'm not sure that we're in the business of cleaning up other people's property."
Nicolaysen doubled down on his previous criticism, asking if someone would need to swear under oath about their economic status or provide their tax returns to qualify for a pass. "I just don't know where we're going to draw the line."
The commissioners decided to ask Deputy County Attorney Charmaine Reed for advice before meeting again about the issue.