Trash, dumping calls get dealt with - but it can take time

Complaints about trash heaps like this one are common in Mohave County. (HUBBLE RAY SMITH/Miner)

Complaints about trash heaps like this one are common in Mohave County. (HUBBLE RAY SMITH/Miner)

KINGMAN - The heap of trash on the side of Lass Avenue has generated numerous complaints from neighbors, yet there it remains in all its repulsive trashiness, a discarded television surrounded by garbage bags buried under a pile of tree trimmings and other debris.

One neighbor, who requested anonymity, said the trash has been sitting there for two months and for a while there were mattresses piled up on trucks, though those have since been removed.

"When we pay taxes, we expect something for our money," the neighbor said.

Mohave County Environmental Health responds to public nuisance complaints such as trash, animal feces, sewage and stagnant water in accordance with Arizona law, said Bree Daugherty, Environmental Health division manager.

"We do have a legal process to follow," she told the Daily Miner. "Generally, we send an inspector out to validate the complaint, and then we issue a notice of violation and give them 15 days to comply."

Some violators will add the letter to their pile of trash.

The Environmental Health Division follows up with another inspection and if the trash hasn't been cleaned up, a "compliance order" is issued to the property owner. Civil penalties of $750 for residential property and up to $5,000 for commercial property may be imposed. At this point, the property owner will be taken to court.

"We give them every opportunity to comply," Daugherty said. "Sometimes the public doesn't like the time it takes, but we have to go through the process. If the tables were turned, I'm sure they would want that time."

In the most extreme cases, civil penalties can add up to more than $10,000.

Daugherty said the health division can obtain a court order to abate the nuisance and will hire a company to clean up the property.

A lien is placed on the property that includes civil penalties and all costs associated with abatement and inspections.

"We have the whole county and we get complaints every day," Daugherty said. "You see properties right now in our process. They are being dealt with."

Daugherty said inspectors have gone out on the Lass Street property complaints, but she did not know its status in the enforcement process.