The Common Council of the City of Brazil passed an ordinance Tuesday intended to streamline the process of dealing with public nuisance offenders.
The measure changes the process by which violators are notified, an adjustment that could save the city thousands of dollars, according to City Attorney Joe Trout. Council members voted to suspend the rules and pass the ordinance on its first reading.
The city's public nuisance laws encompass a variety of offenses, but enforcement is usually aimed at "high grass and weeds," Trout said. Because the offending properties are often owned by non-residents, notification can be difficult.
Under the new ordinance, city officials can either personally serve the notice or complete a combination of mailings and on-site notifications. The city was previously required to publish a notice of violation in the newspaper.
"This will eliminate thousands of dollars worth of publication costs that I think we're wasting," Trout said.
When personal service of the notice of violation isn't an option, city officials can send the notice by certified and first-class mail and place a notice on the property-- all in one day-- to meet notification requirements.
Upon notification, property owners have seven days to remedy the nuisance. If the owner fails to handle the problem, city workers can handle it themselves-- at the property owner's expense.
Any clean-up work performed by the city is charged to the owner, with a minimum bill of $25. Under the ordinance, unpaid bills for public nuisance removal will be assessed on the owner's property tax bill, the disbursed to the city from the county.
Citations with additional fines can also be issued for repeat offenders, Trout said.
"I would probably wait until somebody is a serial offender, then issue a citation along with the notice," he said.