By Andrew Ottoson
For The Clearwater Progress
KAMIAH – The setting of the City of Kamiah annual budget was a low-turnout event, Aug. 12, but during the hearing before the regular meeting, the city council opened up discussion to the effect that the city will be looking at hiring new outside representation to prosecute nuisance violations around town.
As part of a potential law enforcement contract with Lewis County, the city council had flagged a portion for prosecution service to be provided by the Lewis County Prosecutor’s office, totaling $20,000. But the council – and councilor Stephen Rowe in particular – expressed dissatisfaction with how little bang the city would get for those bucks. So, Rowe said, he would prefer to contract for prosecution separately from the city’s contract for law enforcement. Mayor Betty Heater agreed. Instead, the city will be looking into hiring attorney Adam Green of Grangeville – for $150 an hour, or at a contract rate to be determined – to pursue scofflaws whose property is at odds with city code.
“So we would actually have someone to prosecute our city ordinances?” councilor Dan Millward clarified.
“Yes,” Heater said.
As the current contract stands, if Lewis County officers were to write up violations – such as for barking dogs, excessively long grass or weedy yards, or unregistered vehicles – the cases, Rowe said, wouldn’t be prosecuted. Because the prosecuting and policing matters overlap, the council tabled approval of a new contract with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office to the Aug. 26 meeting.
The council approved the budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, and approved a 4.5 percent increase in the city water fee rate as well as new, higher EMS fee rates.
See the Aug. 20 print edition of The Clearwater Progress for more about the budget, the new rates and the city’s move toward enforcing its code.