Mohave County supervisors to develop code of enforcement for trash and debris

This pile of trash was spotted on a stretch of north Bank Street recently.

Photo by Hubble Ray Smith.

This pile of trash was spotted on a stretch of north Bank Street recently.

KINGMAN – Mohave County’s environmental health department is constantly flooded with complaints about trash and debris piling up on someone’s property, but enforcing county codes and ordinances has been somewhat of a challenge.

That could change with the Board of Supervisors voting 5-0 Monday to develop a code enforcement program that will proactively address the trash issue, along with other environmental nuisances.

Hopefully it will be enough to satisfy David Marshall, who told the Daily Miner he called environmental health about his neighbor’s shed that’s absolutely full of household trash.

“They can’t get the door closed,” he said. “The smell coming out of there is horrendous. They might have a body in there. When they do start cleaning up that mess, the cockroaches are going to be headed my way.”

Supervisors have expressed interest in stepping up code enforcement to be more proactive and effective in cleaning up properties.

Some areas of Mohave County are blighted with dilapidated structures, trash and rubbish, and building code and zoning violations. These properties degrade the neighborhood, lower property values and present a public health threat, supervisors said.

The board also looked at how to fund the expanded enforcement.

In reviewing state law with the county attorney, it is believed that because of the program’s focus on cleanup and removal of solid waste, there is “sufficient nexus” in the statutes to consider landfill fees as a possible funding mechanism.

County Administrator Mike Hendrix said he tried to identify areas that would not affect the general fund. One was code enforcement and another was the half-cent transportation excise tax.

Hendrix met with staff from development services and the health department to set fees for solid waste disposal that could be used for enforcement of cleanup in certain areas.

The maximum needed for code enforcement would be around $300,000, he said. It may be possible to hire four employees and part-time attorney for a “standalone” division in development services to enforce codes.

“All we’re asking from development services is to go after code enforcement,” Hendrix said. “We’re not taking anything away from the environmental health department.”

In other action from Monday’s meeting:

The board voted 5-0 to continue a request by Mobilitie to use certain public right-of-way or roadway easements throughout the county to place utility poles up to 120 feet for expanding wi-fi coverage and capability. Two locations identified for the 120-foot poles are Kingman Airport and Shinarump Drive in Golden Valley. Supervisor Gary Watson questioned who decides where the poles will be placed, and Supervisor Steve Moss said he didn’t want to give Mobilitie “carte blanche” on the poles. County Attorney Ryan Esplin said the county would get a flat fee of 5 percent based on various rates and schedules for the first year, and the fee would be “readdressed” after that. The item will be brought back to the board when Public Works can address these issues with Mobilitie, specifically focusing on residential areas and the ability to redress issues of public harm if they arise.

The board voted 5-0 to continue discussion of a countywide special election to approve a maximum half-cent transportation excise tax for road repair, maintenance, construction and reconstruction. Supervisor Moss said there were a couple of issues to be addressed. One is to “engage” with cities as the tax would require 60 percent voter approval. The second is a “sunset” provision on the tax, which would only be used for road improvement and would not go toward buildings or expanding government, Moss said. Any road work would have to go out to contract, and funding would be equally divided among the five districts. Public Works Director Steve Latoski said an engineering analysis determined that 313 miles of county roads, or roughly 45 percent, have reached the end of their service life. The county is facing an $8 million annual shortfall for “best practice” maintenance, Latoski noted.

As part of the consent agenda, the board approved a one-year lease extension for the Valle Vista community library at 7274 Concho Drive with Alston Development. The extension is through July 31, 2018, at the monthly lease rate of $1,500, with a revised notice of termination of 60 days from 90 days.

Also from the consent agenda, the board approved an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Kingman to use the County Administration Building’s auditorium for city council meetings twice a month for $300 a month. Supervisor Buster Johnson wanted to know if the agreement would go for “infinity, and if there was any plan for Kingman to remodel or rebuild its City Hall, which has a cramped Council meeting room. Also, if meetings run long, who’s going to pay for the IT staff, security and wear and tear on equipment? City Administrator Hendrix said the agreement covers only the direct costs, and does not get into the “minutia” for amortization costs.