Council Message: Addressing Common Questions and Issues

By Councilmember Claude Wells

claude-wellsI want to address some common questions or issues we are asked almost every day, whether the questions are directed to Riverton City staff or an email, text or a phone call to the applicable councilmember.

With the secondary water being shut down earlier this season, many residents have asked why they pay for secondary water 12 months of the year when we only use the water during spring, summer and early fall. This structure is like the equal pay program offered by utility companies. Riverton City maintains the system year around. A lot of the bigger maintenance occurs during the winter months when the water is turned off so they can rebuild pumps and service the infrastructure while water is not flowing.

Many of the issues we work on turn out to be private property issues between neighbors for ordinance violations that are difficult to enforce, especially if it is regarding a back yard where most people don’t see it. Neighbors don’t want to rock the boat with other neighbors, so they are reluctant to file a formal complaint with a case number.

Vehicles that are not registered or are expired should be in driveways, not parked out on the street. That is a state law, but enforcement of a ticket is difficult under our current ordinances on the books. Police don’t like to strictly enforce those ordinances because they often get dismissed by the judge for various reasons. It ties up the courts that are already at capacity. Nobody likes when someone parks in front of their house. Under the law anyone can park on a public street in front of your house since it is a public road. I recommend neighbors be courteous and park within their own property borders to help avoid parking problems.

The Riverton City Council will be holding work sessions where we will discuss ordinance enforcement that is more proactive than complaint driven enforcement. This is a staffing issue that will also be addressed for the next budget session. Our goal is to encourage residents to comply and bring properties up to code, which is a benefit to both neighbors and property values. It should not take a complaint to get a neighbor to remove weeds that can become a fire hazard that jeopardizes surrounding properties. Neighbors watching out for neighbors is the best solution. Some people cannot physically take care of their properties without help. Some cannot afford to hire it out.

I challenge each resident to take pride in their properties and be better neighbors in their community. Not everyone can or wants a manicured property, but no one wants to live next door to a dilapidated property either. We can all do better and see what we can do to help our neighbors. The idea of enforcement is not to be heavy handed, but to find a balance where we love where we live and can live in harmony with our neighbors. We want to be able to enforce ordinances on properties that are beyond unreasonable. It seems every neighborhood has at least one of those types of properties.

Riverton City has an app called Riverton Connect where you can report a problem. You can also report problems online at Reports includes animal control issues, parking, weed enforcement, and other code violations. It is easy to use, and you can attach pictures for the city to see. We encourage residents to use this service to help keep our city beautiful.

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