Public opposing solid waste ordinances gather at commissioner’s business session
Around 50 members of the public opposed to the solid waste ordinances that are the subject of a referendum on the November ballot and a couple supporters of the ordinances made their presence known during the Josephine County Commissioners Wednesday business session.
Commissioner Cherryl Walker started off the meeting by giving a factual presentation of the changes between the current solid waste ordinances. Walker said properties are already subject to state ordinances and by mirroring those ordinances locally it would give the county more local control. She added that the new ordinances provide clarification for the hearings officers, which are already positions in the county, and for the issuance of citations.
Jack Swift, who is the lead petitioner, said the ordinances do not focus on solid waste but on planning violations, this would be a new revenue stream for county coffers and would not allow supposed violators due process. Walker rebutted by saying the revenue acquired would be used to provide assistance to indigent citizens to clean their property, offenders would be allowed to bring the issue to court and those opposed to the ordinances are not thinking about those who have lost the value of their property due to ordinance violating neighbors.
Ordinance Administrator Nannette Chase was asked to address the board and she said, “Frivolous complaints are rarely submitted,” and most homeowners agree to comply with the ordinances when approached but the county needs a means to expedite the process for individuals who undermine the safety of their neighbors.
Commissioners Simon Hare and Keith Heck voted to have a debate in the next coming weeks between Cherryl Walker and the chief petitioner on the issue, Jack Swift. Walker was the dissenting vote.