The City of Riley is working to establish its own municipal court based on the model of Ogden’s court.
The Riley Countian Newspaper reports that the city council unanimously approved a proposal to set up a court at its November 26 meeting. Mayor Tim Sharp says the idea has been brought up multiple times in the past years from within the council and the community.
“We’re in the midst of getting all the things necessary to get it going,” Sharp told KMAN. “It’s going to happen, I just don’t know how soon.”
Sharp says the intent is not to start up a criminal court, but rather a way to address dilapidated properties and other property nuisances around the city. An enforcement officer to be designated in the future will be able to issue tickets or summons in the event of violations.
“There wasn’t anything with teeth in it to make people keep their yards cleaned up or if you’ve got a building that’s dilapidated or something [to]make the owners do something with it,” says Sharp.
The next step for Riley is to codify its ordinances and hire a judge and support staff. Sharp was not able to say what the cost to the city will be yet, but says they don’t have any plans for a new building and will operate out of City Hall.
“We’ll have to set up a clerk,” says Sharp. “And figure out what all we’ve got to keep for records.”
Sharp says a current city employee could be designated as the enforcement officer and current City Clerk Doris Fritz may be tasked with splitting her time as the court’s clerk as well, decreasing potential costs. He also says they could see revenue from fines helping lessen any future expenses, “but it’s probably not going to cover the cost of the judge at all.”
He says the decision to use Ogden as a model was an effort to keep the process simple as well as easy for Riley County Police officers.
“We’re trying to make it as easy as possible so an officer who’s used to working in Ogden can also work in Riley and have the same rules.”