City's code enforcement ad hoc committee meets for first time

The city of Ontario's Code Enforcement Ad Hoc Committee conducts its first meeting on Nov. 17 at the Community Development Center in Ontario.

ONTARIO — A group of volunteers dedicated to reviewing Ontario’s current regulations for civil penalties related to code enforcement met for the first time this past week.

While code enforcement is still being done, civil penalties have been on hold since May 6, when the Ontario City Council opted to do that after learning of more than $1 Million in unpaid fines on 75 accounts. The council decided that its predecessors had not intended such hefty fines and fees when putting enacting the penalties several years prior.

On Nov. 17, the city of Ontario Code Enforcement Ad Hoc Committee held its first in-person regular meeting. The committee discussed how abatements are handled, who would pay for clean-up and who would conduct the clean-up.

Chairman David Sullivan suggested that the city come in and help clean up the resident or businesses’ property that is not in compliance, which then the city would charge them cleanup fees.

However, the question was then posed by Code Enforcement Officer Rick Reyna of who would be doing the cleanup, whether it be Jacobs, the city’s Public Works contractor, or another outside contractor that would be hired on by the city as needed.

The committee also discussed how to increase the Code Enforcement Departments Budget and how to offset the cost associated with cleanup for low-income residents.

City of Ontario Councilor John Kirby answered both questions stating that the city council was waiting until the hiring of a new police chief, before having a discussion of the aforementioned budget

Kirby also suggested that the city of Ontario set up a fund to assist low-income residents who could not pay their fines.

Kirby provided some notes of concern that was put into the official meeting record which follows: developing a penalty matrix, a process to communicate violations, developing referral companies to help violators mitigate their problems and considering funding monies to offset the cost associated with cleanup for the poor to which, Kirby previously stated.

The committee voted unanimously to have Attorney Zack Olson speak to the committee during its December meeting. Olson represented city of Ontario Mayor Riley Hill in his lawsuit against the city of Ontario regarding civil penalties. The court resolved the matter in Hill’s favor.

The group is slated to meet for two hours per month. The next meeting is slated for Dec. 16 and is expected to be at City Hall.

Load comments