The Lake Delton village board voted to introduce a new ordinance in the village municipal code at its June 10 meeting, allowing for the village’s supervising bodies to more easily address nuisances in the community.
According to village attorney Ray Cross, the new ordinance introduces a standardized system across all departments in the village, so that instead of just issuing citations, any nuisant properties or parties will enter into a new agreement to work with the village.
“Nuisance is still defined the same, and what this does is it sets up a program for abatement of nuisance… according to a schedule and a plan,” Cross said. “It kind of ties together the various departments of the village that have enforcement authority… they can work together to develop a plan to correct the problem before it becomes much worse.”
The amended code, Chapter 43 in the municipal code, did not previously include any sort of framework for this cross-department cooperation. It relied on the disparate departments to enforce various rules independently.
According to Delton police officer Patrick Wex, he studied similar programs in larger communities nearby, such as Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago to find a more efficient way to address nuisant properties in Lake Delton.
“All of their laws and municipal codes are very similar to Lake Delton’s,” Wex said. “And what we were missing was just a plan of how we proceed with chronic nuisance property.”
According to Wex, one of his main goals was to increase cross-department communication. In his research, he found that a lot of the properties the police department was wrangling were in similar hot water with the fire and zoning departments, but nobody knew that the other departments were involved.
In the new program, all departments with enforcement authority over nuisant properties will have access to the same cloud-based database, where they can file reports and find any commonalities that may be found. According to Wex, this should help with enforcement.
“We started a Google Drive where we can upload our reports, so we can all see what everyone is doing, and kind of see where the threshold of a chronic nuisance property is,” Wex said.