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Ringwood tries new method for violation enforcement

Published: Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 2:46 p.m. CDT

RINGWOOD – Inoperable junk cars, a lack of enclosures around trash containers and other ordinance violations haven't been worth the cost of taking the violators to court for the tiny village of Ringwood.

But Ringwood Village Board officials hope that a new ordinance passed last week will give them a middle ground between going to court and doing nothing.

Under the approved ordinance, the violators will be able to settle with the village without the village having to file with the court.

It was recommended by the village's new building inspector, who was hired about a year ago, as an alternative to another method area municipalities are using to bypass the county court system for ordinance violations.

These municipalities are setting up adjudication hearings, which have their own village-hired judge, clerk and prosecutor.

That method makes more sense for villages that are bigger than Ringwood, said Village President Rick Mack, who voted for the settlement ordinance.

"Obviously we're very cost conscious," he said, adding that the approved ordinance should be less expensive and more efficient than the other options.

Trustee Brian Pytel had the sole no vote, but his issue had more to do with the underlying inspection process. Trustee Gary Reinwall was absent from the meeting.

Pytel wants the village to track what initiates the violation, whether its an email or phone complaint or just an observation by the inspector, he said.

"It should be transparent to the public," he said.

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