City discusses cleaning up municipal codes

Linda Trest
Staff Writer

City officials met for a special meeting Wednesday, April 17, to hear a proposal for the codification of the city’s codes. 

Susan Lane, an account manager for General Code, explained the process to the mayor and aldermen. 

According to Oxford Dictionaries online, codification is the action or process of arranging laws or rules according to a system or plan. 

Lane told the board her company would go through the city’s codes line by line to make sure there were no discrepancies in the codes. They would also make suggestions on eliminating certain laws that may be outdated. 

The city eliminated its municipal court last year. That means there are dozens of references to that court that need to be eliminated from the code. This must be done either by the city’s attorneys or as one part of the codification process. 

City Clerk Jane Hungler estimates that the cost of having it done through the attorneys would cost the city around $3,500. 

The much more comprehensive codification would cost $9,900 billed in four payments over two years. 

Lane noted that it is recommended that cities codify every 10 to 15 years. The last time it was done for the City of Gerald codes was in 1996. 

The process could take from 15 to 18 months to complete. 

The code updates would be done in sections. As the company reviews a section it would make recommendation for changes they feel are necessary. Each city official would be sent a copy of the recommended changes in workbook form. As a group, they would discuss whether or not the suggested change would benefit the city. 

When they are satisfied with the changes, work on a new section would begin. 

Hungler says there is money in the 2019 budget to cover the first payment. The second payment will not be due until 2020. 

Currently, the city codes are available online on the city’s website. The current codes will remain there as is until the codification process is complete. 

As new ordinances are passed, they will also be available on the website. Instead of being immediately integrated into the code, they will be shown under a heading of New Codes until the process is finalized. 

The board agreed to consider the matter at the May 9 meeting.