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Backus: Council explores administrative hearings to enforce city ordinances

After receiving a letter from Cass County law enforcement stating that county sheriffs cannot enforce city ordinances, the Backus City Council on Monday, Oct. 5, asked its lawyer to draft an administrative hearing process.

After receiving a letter from Cass County law enforcement stating that county sheriffs cannot enforce city ordinances, the Backus City Council on Monday, Oct. 5, asked its lawyer to draft an administrative hearing process.

The city has had several complaints, ranging from parking issues to nuisance dog issues, which the sheriff's department cannot enforce. The city faces other options in enforcing its ordinances, including civil court cases; however, that process is expensive, drawn out and possibly ineffective.

The city also has the option of having its attorney, Steven Qualley of Gammello, Qualley, Pearson & Mallak, draft an administrative citation ordinance granting the city the ability to designate citation and hearing authority for city ordinance violations.

The council agreed to have Qualley draft an ordinance, though he warned that it can be difficult to find a proper hearing officer, a third party responsible for overseeing hearings.

The council questioned whether the city could share a hearing officer with Pine River, which recently adopted an administrative citation ordinance.

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In other business Monday, the council:

• Agreed to cover one-third of the cost of work done to correct water service to a home that was previously in violation of a city ordinance. It was determined that the violation was the fault of previous property owners, and the water connection was on the opposite side of the street, requiring the homeowner to dig up and then repair the street to connect to city water properly. The council only agreed to share the costs of going under the street.

• Agreed to replace a refrigerator in one of the townhomes for no greater than $600.

• Approved a request by the city fire department to purchase a turnout gear extractor for cleaning fire turnout gear. The request also asked for support for an application for a grant to pay for the extractor.

• Learned the city's well No. 2 is in working order.

• Agreed to attempt to get city surplus put onto an online auction by Cass County.

Related Topics: BACKUS CITY COUNCIL
Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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