By Tim Horan

The Salina Journal

Salina city commissioners agreed, at their meeting Monday, to redefine "perennial violator" when it comes to the property maintenance code.

Gary Hobbie, the city's director of development services, said the maintenance code deals with tall grass and weeds, trash and debris and inoperable vehicles.

The code currently defines "perennial violator" as someone who receives three or more notices within 12 months for failure to comply with the maintenance code. Commissioners voted to change the definition from "12 months" to "calendar year," starting in 2016.

Hobbie said that in 2014, there were 2,864 complaints for code violations, with 1,781 violation notices issued and 242 abatements ordered and completed. He said of those, 75 would be considered perennial violators.

Second inspector hired

The property maintenance code was adopted in April 2013. After a 90-day notification period, enforcement began. In April, the city hired a second full-time property maintenance inspector, according to the staff report.

Many of the inspections are for repeat violations, Hobbie said.

"It's a complicated process," he told commissioners. "We feel like we are doing good work in the community."

The penalty for violating the code is a fine of between $50 and $500, except in the case of a perennial violator, in which case the minimum fine is $250; a sentence of up to six months in jail, or a combination.

(c)2014 The Salina Journal