Lyon County plans for loss of code enforcement officer |

Lyon County plans for loss of code enforcement officer

Dave Frank

Without a code enforcement officer, Lyon County residents could experience a slight drop in service under a new code enforcement policy, said County Manager Dennis Stark.

County staff will divide up the work of the former officer, whose position was eliminated, under Stark’s proposed policy. Commissioners will decide whether to accept Stark’s policy Thursday.

Code Enforcement Officer Rick Zierenberg was one of 10 employees the county laid off because of this fiscal year’s budget shortfall.

The county will handle code enforcement calls, including trash and nuisance complaints, by assigning the call to the department that can handle it best, Stark said. The county manager’s office will keep records and manage code enforcement.

“I don’t think it will be overly burdensome, and it will work efficiently and effectively,” he said.

But the county might not be able to handle calls as well as it did before, he said. Staff also will have to be “selective about what we aggressively pursue,” Stark said.

“Service levels may be affected, but not to the degree some people think,” he said.

Many departments won’t have more work to do under the new policy because they already handle their own code enforcement calls, he said. Others such as the sheriff’s department will probably have more work, he said.

The county also could bring back the code enforcement officer position if the economy improves, Stark said.

Nick Malarchik, building department director, said the new policy won’t be a problem for his department. He said his department routinely deals with code enforcement complaints over things such as failed septic systems or building without a permit.

“We pretty much handle them now,” he said.

Sheriff Allen Veil said his department will handle its code enforcement calls, such as trash complaints, as best as it can.

However, the department doesn’t have the time to make all code enforcement calls a high priority, he said. This is the reason the county hired a code enforcement officer in the first place, he said.

“Resolution to the complaints probably won’t come as quickly as when we had a code enforcement officer,” he said.

Zierenberg said the county has less time and fewer employees to handle code enforcement than it did when it hired him six years ago.

He said code enforcement without a code enforcement officer didn’t work then and it won’t work now.

“I just feel sorry for the residents of Lyon County,” he said.