- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—SAUK RAPIDS — The Sauk Rapids City Council unanimously approved new fines Monday night for property owners who are in violation of the city’s nuisance ordinance regulating residential property maintenance.

The fine for a first violation will be $100, the fine for a second notice of the violation will be $300 and the fine for the third notice will be $600. The fine for repeat offenders within a two-year period will also be $600. The fee to appeal administrative citations to the City Council will be $100.

The City Council unanimously approved amending the city’s nuisance ordinance in May.

Minimum standards under the new ordinance include preventing an accumulation of garbage, allowing peeling or blistering paint on no more than 15 percent of a home, keeping windows in working condition and walkways in good condition.

The ordinance also prohibits vehicles including boats, four-wheelers, trailers or other defined vehicles from being parked in a residential yard unless parked in the driveway, licensed and road-worthy. They can be parked in a rear or side yard if they are licensed and operable.

At the time of the ordinance revision, fines of $100 for a first violation, $200 for a second and $300 for a third were proposed. But council members wanted further discussion on appropriate amounts.

Community Development Director Todd Schultz told the council that progress on seven properties’ enforcement actions has been made since May.

“Those were the seven properties that were on a lot of people’s radars,” Schultz said afterward. “We’d had a number of complaints. So those were the seven that we started enforcement against.”

“Progress is being made. There was one property in which it was difficult to deliver the letter because the owners don’t live there. But that letter was delivered last week.”

As part of a special budget meeting that preceded Monday night’s regular council meeting, council members directed city staff to proceed with exploring hiring a new full-time police officer, a part-time community service officer and a part-time building inspector and to keep the funding for those positions in the general budget that will be presented for preliminary approval at a meeting Sept. 15.

The council also agreed that the 2016 levy presented at the Sept. 15 meeting would remain unchanged ($3,418,400) from 2015.

New police officer Katy Davis was sworn in at Monday’s regular council meeting. Harlen Frank was recognized for his retirement after 38 years with the City’s Public Works Department.

The council agreed to cancel the meeting scheduled for Aug. 10. The next meeting of the City Council will be Aug. 24.

Follow Frank Rajkowski on Twitter at @rajko1972 and like him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sctimesfrank.

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