Code enforcement clarified

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Alderman Peg Adamson asked Building Inspector Bobby Ray at Monday’s council meeting about enforcing code violations in the city, to which Ray said he responds to a violation if he sees it himself or has been made aware of it. He said he goes to the location and issues a verbal warning if there is a violation and gives the violator ten days to make corrections.

When he returns in ten days and the violator is showing an earnest attempt to comply, Ray will work with the person. If not, he issues a citation, which means a court date. The judge will consider the case and determine the fine in many cases.

In a situation like enforcing the proposed No Smoking ordinance in city parks, Ray said typically there is room for officer discretion. He has suggested, however, to Berry and Judge Dale Ramsey, establishing specific fines for a violation in lieu of a court appearance.

Alderman David Mitchell pressed the issue regarding Ray using officer discretion when a violator is rectifying a situation but in the meantime breaking a state law. City Attorney Tim Weaver pointed out, “The mayor is ultimately the top cop for the city.” Berry responded that permits can be revoked, and that a threat usually gets the appropriate response from violators.