Nuisance ordinance, magistrate judge redistricting highlight county agenda
August 17, 2009
Public hearings involving a nuisance ordinance and the redistricting of magistrate judge positions are on the agenda for Tuesday’s Curry County Commission meeting.
Also, a district judge is expected to present demands for security changes at the courthouse.
The commission is set to meet at 9 a.m. in the North Annex of the Clovis-Carver Public Library and be televised on cable Channel 6.
Commissioners are also expected to discuss a proposal to close all but one entrance at the courthouse to enhance security.
• The nuisance ordinance, which was re-dubbed a health and public safety ordinance, has sparked much debate in the nearly two years it has been discussed.
A proposed nuisance ordinance was withdrawn last August, when residents complained that it was too vague and penalized agricultural entities by imposing stricter rules than those mandated by the state and federal government.
The new ordinance would require county residents to address issues such as stagnant pools of water, refuse and structures that could contain vermin and disease-carrying insects. If residents are found in violation, they could be cited by the sheriff’s office and face fines.
Another chief argument from residents and commissioners has been concern the ordinance would amount to zoning. The county has a history of no zoning requirements, which appeals to many residents.
• A public hearing will also be held to discuss an ordinance splitting the county’s magistrate judges into two districts for election purposes.
The county is set to pass the ordinance creating the two districts under a federal court order.
The ordinance resulted from a lawsuit that claimed the at-large voting system for judges made it difficult for minorities to secure a magistrate judgeship.
Critics have said the redistricting will only cause conflict in the courts because judges are beholden only to state law and don’t act as representatives of local districts.
Though under court order to comply, commissioners have expressed concerns about how the federal order came to be, and Commissioner Caleb Chandler has said he wants to discuss the history of the districting order at Tuesday’s meeting.
• Discussion of a proposal to secure all but one entrance to the courthouse is expected.
District Judge Teddy Hartley has said if the county gives him three sheriff’s deputies, he will loan the county the court’s X-ray machine and metal detectors and allow them to be moved to the entryway proposed for a checkpoint.
Hartley has said the county is derelict in providing court security as required by state statute.
• Commissioners are also scheduled to hear a report on the county’s finances for the fourth fiscal year quarter as well as a report on the county fair.