Colfax begins reviewing changes to 800 page ordinance book

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX  —  The Colfax Village Board has started reviewing recommended changes to the village’s 800 page ordinance book.

Some of the changes are minor, such as updating a reference to a state statute.

Some of the changes are somewhat more substantial, such as increasing the fee for residents to request a special meeting of the village board from $100 to $200.

The Colfax Village Board meets twice a month on the second and fourth Monday. If a village resident wanted the board to meet at some other time to address an issue, the ordinance change would require the village resident to pay $200 for the special meeting.

The Colfax Village Board began reviewing changes to the ordinances recommended by a company called General Code during a meeting of the village board as an ad hoc code committee March 2.

The Colfax Village Board approved contracting with General Code in December of 2012 for $12,000 to review the village’s ordinances that were updated last in 1998.

The existing ordinances are based on state statutes dated 1995 and 1996.

General Code submitted the suggested ordinance revisions last year, and the village board should have finished reviewing them last summer, said Scott Gunnufson, village president.

Previous Colfax administrator-clerk-treasurer Jackie Ponto had hoped to guide the village board through reviewing the suggested revisions but resigned her position in October.

Some of the questions that General Code considered while reviewing the village’s ordinances and that the village board is considering during the review process include: are certain provisions no longer enforced? Is the ordinance appropriate or is it enforced under another statute?  Are the procedures accurate or do they need to be changed to reflect current practices? Are there problems with enforcing certain provisions? Are the titles of officials, employees and department heads up-to-date?

During the three-hour meeting March 2, village board members managed to make their way through about one-third of suggested revisions.

After the village board has finished reviewing the revisions, General Code will produce a final draft for review, and after the final review by the village board, a notice about the new code of ordinances will be published, and then the new ordinances will go into effect.

Here are some of the changes that are expected to be in the village’s new set of ordinances:

• Law enforcement officers will be authorized to issue citations for the building inspector, the fire inspector and the weed commissioner. The current ordinances require the building inspector, fire inspector and weed commissioner to write out their own citations for ordinance violations.

• Bidding procedures will be required for purchases or contracts that are over $5,000. The existing ordinances require bidding procedures for purchases or contracts that are over $10,000.

• Village residents with a permit to have up to ten chickens (specifically hens) will pay a fine of $200 if they have more than ten chickens. The existing ordinance, which was adopted a few years ago, sets the fine for more than ten chickens at $100.

The Colfax Village Board’s code committee continued reviewing the ordinances March 9 prior to the regular village board meeting.