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March 8, 2007

CODE ENFORCEMENT ON THE TRAIL AGAIN!

What’s the best way to keep your cows from getting out and having the Code Enforcement Officer round ‘em up? One cattleman felt the best way was to cut the trees down along his fence line so they wouldn’t fall on the fence and his cows could get out. So that’s what he did.

In the meantime, as Cowboy Rogers rode his 4x4 home every night and back to work the next day, he’d pass the cattleman’s pasture. He noticed trees being cut. He noticed DIRT BEING MOVED! Oh, my, another violation! He calls the cattleman and tells him, “I’ve been watching you.” Cowboy Rogers then informs the cattleman that he’s in violation of the “land disturbance ordinance” and must pay a fee to cut down those trees, smooth out the dirt, and replace his fence.

Not believing that is so, the cattleman promptly heads down to the Courthouse. No one can help him, but they send him over to Planning and Zoning—the main bunkhouse for the Cowboy. The P&Z Director can’t answer any of the cattleman’s questions, but tells him he’ll check into it. The next day, the cattleman is called and told he owes a $50 fee for a “land disturbance permit.”

First it’s cows, now it’s land disturbance. Does this mean that every time our Code Enforcement officer is riding around and sees a farmer plowing his field, it’s a fee for land disturbance? What if a few dead trees need to be removed? Another fee for land disturbance? How about a back yard garden? That has to be plowed and certainly land is moved and disturbed; does that qualify? TWG will ask for copies of the ordinance(s) and see how they pertain to AGRICULTURAL lands.

Our County must be in a much more desperate financial condition than we know. Under the direction of the BOC and County Manager (who by the way backs the Cowboy in all he does), the Code Enforcement Officer is bringing to justice every “lawbreaker” in the county. TWG was told by one commissioner, “His job is to write tickets.” Money is the name of the game—again NO COMMON SENSE prevails.

If the BOC wants to save money they could decide that driving a F250 4x4 home and back every night (approx. 13 miles one way) was expensive. But the BOC has continued to violate their own resolution that employees could not take their vehicles home, but Code Enforcement (and Recreation) is an exception—the County Manager told him he could. So is this “breaking the law?” It’s against the Resolution signed and still in effect. The BOC said about 6 months ago when it was brought up by a citizen that the “Vehicle Policy for employees with County vehicles” would be discussed at the next meeting. It’s fallen into the Great Abyss with the Vehicle Plan, the County Website, the Budget Calendar and several other items that would be “on the next agenda” but have yet to appear or be discussed.

When is Code Enforcement going to do something about the Kennels that still exist and possibly have been expanded but were denied by the BOC almost a year ago? What about the big mess that was supposed to be cleaned up at the corner of Hwy 11 S and Hwy 380 in October 2006 then given an extension until 2/1/07? It’s still there and still an eye sore. These are the type of Code Enforcement areas where things need to be done. Not cows and farmers taking care of their pastures and fences.

TWG
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