Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
March 19, 2013
FALLS CITY -- The city of Falls City is looking to add some teeth to its code enforcement process.
Thursday, the City Council of Falls City approved negotiating a contract with Ira Feitelson, the city of Dallas' municipal judge, to preside over Falls City's code enforcement cases.
If hired, Feitelson likely wouldn't be in town often -- perhaps once every three months -- but having him available gives the city another avenue when addressing code violations.
"It's really more a matter of having it as a resource," City Attorney Lane Shetterly said to the council at its meeting. "Right now you don't even have it as a resource, which makes code enforcement really difficult. You are not going to get the attention of (Polk County) circuit court judges over at the (Polk County) Courthouse on code enforcement for the city."
City Administrator Amber Mathiesen said it would also be a benefit to citizens to have an independent third party review cases.
"I look at it as another tool for staff, but also a benefit to our citizens," she said.
Feitelson attended the council's meeting Thursday for a brief interview.
When asked if he would be willing to find solutions other than simply fining people for violations, Feitelson said he is always open to finding alternatives.
"Sometimes you are dealing with someone who has no money that has done something," he said. "There is always some other way -- community service or some other way -- for them to take care of their obligations and for the city to benefit on the other side. ... If it's something that needs to get worked out, we will get it worked out."
Mathiesen said she would negotiate a contract with Feitelson and present it to the council for approval at a future council meeting.
In other business, the council:
* Approved an ordinance allowing the council to act as the city's planning commission if the commission does not have enough members to conduct business.
Shetterly said it is not uncommon for small cities to have their councils serve as the planning commission at times when there are not enough members to act, which is currently the case in Falls City.
* Appointed residents Tony Meier and Dennis Sickles to the Falls City Budget Committee and Falls City's City Charter Review Committee.