The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly approved allowing citations to be issued to code violators within the borough.
During last night’s regular meeting the assembly amended borough code to allow for the citations to be issued on certain aspects of borough code – things like littering, animal control and fireworks, among others.
Borough Manager Bud Cassidy said those are the things the borough gets the most complaints about, and the citation process will allow the borough to more effectively handle those situations. Current borough code violations are handled on a complaint-based system, and typically the code enforcer simply educates violators on the matter. Now, violators can be cited and fined, much like what occurs when people receive speeding tickets. Cassidy said the borough worked with the court system on drafting the citation procedure and feels it is the next step in making sure folks are following the law.
The ordinance drew a handful of public comments, including concerns from Borough Assembly Candidate Dan Rohrer. Rohrer said he was worried about how certain fees could escalate for simple violations.
“It gets a little scary to me as I look at specifically a page and a half worth of fees for animals and the fact that I could violate most of them simultaneously with my dog. It could be a contagious animal that’s also annoying to people, and oh by the way I forgot to tether it and oh by the way it attacked your dog and it was littering – which I’m not quite sure I frankly understand what an animal littering is – but I don’t have identification on it and I also forgot my tag and collar. And the sum total of those is approximately $450 for the first offense – second offense escalates rapidly from there.”
Assemblyman Mel Stephens echoed those concerns and said he would not support the ordinance.
Other audience members supported the ordinance. Judi Kidder said she supported what the borough was trying to do to improve the community.
“I am 100 percent supportive of being able to issue citations for things like animal control and the dumping. With what I’ve seen with dumping out the road and everything else – education is a big thing, but people need to be held accountable for that.”
Many assembly members shared that sentiment, including Assemblywoman Chris Lynch.
“If you’re not doing something right, then you should have to pay for it. It took us several years to fund the position of a code enforcement officer. He needs to have the proper tools in his toolbox to do his job. We have kept adding to his job description – solid waste, animal control. The motorized water craft, that was two years of public hearings at Island Lake. So we have heard public comment on all these issues. Animal control is a huge issue – staff get’s lots of comments and complaints on that issue. Same thing with solid waste, littering, bad disposal. I’m in full support of this. If you’re not doing anything you shouldn’t be, the fees won’t affect you.”
Assemblyman Aaron Griffin emphasized that the borough only has one code enforcer, and allowing citations will make him a more effective one.
“There has to be teeth in the law, or there’s no point in having the law. And that’s quite frankly what this is – it gives staff the ability to enforce the law that is already on the books.”
The ordinance was passed in a 4-2 vote with Stephens and Assemblyman Tuck Bonney dissenting.
During last night’s meeting the assembly also approved a resolution for a fee schedule of the citation fines.