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Updating Colfax ordinances would cost $12,000

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX — Hiring a company called General Code to update the Village of Colfax’s ordinances would cost a little more than $12,000.

Marcia Clifford, an attorney who works with General Code, spoke to the Colfax Village Board at the November 26 meeting about updating the village’s ordinances.

General Code editors will do a detailed review of the village’s ordinances and compare them to Wisconsin statutes to make sure that the ordinances follow the statutes, seeing as state law changes frequently, Clifford said.

The last time Colfax’s ordinances were updated was in 1998, she said.

The editors also will make sure that the committee names are consistent in the ordinances and will find the sections where the clerk-treasurer’s title is listed, for example, and update it to the administrator clerk-treasurer, Clifford said.

General Code will generate a workbook format for a draft of the ordinances so that village board members can review the suggested changes, she said.

The ordinances will be arranged by topic and alphabetically, Clifford noted.

The entire process of updating the Colfax ordinances will take 12 to 18 months to complete, she said.

Municipalities usually update their ordinances every ten or 15 years. Larger municipalities that have more ordinances will update their code more often, and smaller municipalities will do updates less often, Clifford said.

Village Trustee Chris Olson wondered whether hiring General Code to update the village’s ordinances would eliminate the need for sending the ordinances to the village’s attorney.

“No,” Clifford said. “I am a licensed attorney but (General Code) cannot give legal advice.

Clifford suggested that the Colfax Village Board save the attorney’s fees for important parts of the ordinances that need to be changed rather than spending the money on routine changes, such as making sure committee names are consistent in all the ordinances.

“When we check (Colfax’s ordinances) against the state statutes, we may say that you need to check with your attorney,” she said.

“That way you can focus your attorney’s work so that not all (of the ordinances) are under review … attorneys are better for higher level review,” Clifford said.

Much of what General Code does falls under the category of “housekeeping” and whether the Ts are crossed, she said.

Updating the village’s ordinances does need to be done, said Jackie Ponto, village administrator clerk-treasurer.

“The money blows my mind, but it needs to be done,” said Susan Olson, village trustee.

The Colfax Village Board approved a motion to review the proposal from General Code and the board’s next meeting on December 10.