Looser water penalties appear on the way
Carson City supervisors agreed Thursday to loosen penalties on water-use violations, giving residents four chances to comply with outdoor watering restrictions before being issued a misdemeanor citation.
“Most (violators) are negligent. They don’t waste water on purpose,” said Supervisor Shelley Aldean.
Current code allows city enforcement officers to cite a resident after just one warning. The proposed ordinance mandates the city give violators a warning the first two times caught watering on non-watering days. The third infraction would result in a $50 fine added to the monthly water bill. The fourth would result in a $100 fine, and a misdemeanor would be issued on the fifth violation.
Supervisor Richard Staub asked why it would take four warnings before issuing a citation, and Mayor Marv Teixeira asked: “Have you ever had anyone get hammered five times?”
Four properties get caught breaking the water rules more than five times every year, city Public Works Operations Manager Tom Hoffert said, and last year there were more than a dozen properties with three offenses.
Aside from issuing a few misdemeanor citations – 12 last year – Hoffert said the city’s Public Works Department generally issues several warnings.
“We’re conditioned to do that,” Hoffert said. “We want to educate people, not be seen as an enforcement arm of the city. This is just formalizing what we’ve been doing over the past few years.”
In Carson City, watering restrictions begin June 1. No watering is allowed on Mondays or between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Odd-numbered addresses may water on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; even-numbered addresses on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
The ordinance change, which passed unanimously with no signs of dissent from the public, will go before the Carson City Board of Supervisors once more before taking effect.
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