Sheriff's Office preparing to enforce noise law : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Sheriff's Office preparing to enforce noise law|
|Chief deputy: agency to begin enforcement 'as quickly as we can'|
|by Matt Schury|
Enforcing Kendall County's new noise ordinance could cost taxpayers less than $2,000, Sheriff Richard Randall estimates.
Randall told the County Board last Tuesday that he expects to purchase four decibel meters necessary to enforce the noise ordinance.
The noise ordinance, passed last month by the County Board, regulates noise levels in residentially zoned portions of unincorporated Kendall County during daylight and nighttime hours.
The largest unincorporated development in the county affected by the change would be the Boulder Hill Subdivision between Oswego and Montgomery.
Without the meters the sheriff's office doesn't have a way to enforce the law. Randall said the meters would give his office the ability to start enforcing the law and that he didn't want the "authenticity of the meters" called into question.
"In this day and age of litigious situation that we have, we felt that in the best interest of the county and the sheriff's office that we have equipment that is certifiable and is tested," Randall said.
The ordinance says the County Sheriff's Office will enforce the ordinance. Penalties quantify a violation of the ordinance as a misdemeanor offense. A first offense will cost a violator $50 with a maximum fine of $500. For subsequent offenses within two years, the minimum fine is $100 with a maximum fine of $1,000, the ordinance says.
Randall's office was expected to place the order for the equipment last week. It will include four sound pressure level meters, a calibration unit and some protective cases, according to Chief Deputy Scott Koster.
"We are going to be spending less than $2,000 for all of that-for the four meters, the calibration unit and the cases," Koster said, adding that it would probably be around $1,500 to $1,600.
Koster said they wanted to purchase four meters, one for each of the four major zones Kendall County deputies patrol in the county.
He added that they could begin enforcing the law 30 days after they purchase the meters.
"We want to make sure that our officers all have appropriate training and are comfortable using the meters and are getting the right readings," Koster said, adding that usually when a state or local ordinance is passed they have an implementation date.
However the ordinance didn't come with a funding source or implementation date when it was passed last month.
"We're going to go as quickly as we can so that we can implement the ordinance," Koster said.
The way the ordinance was written, the meters would be used, Koster said, when violators ignore a warning.
"Our focus is always education, to let the public know they are violating and get them to comply voluntarily. Enforcement on something like this is a resort only if they don't comply with requests to stop or turn down music or stop the noise," Koster explained.
Source for funds
subject for debate
There was a short debate last Tuesday during the County Board meeting as to where the funds for the monitoring equipment should come from but as of last Friday, the issue seemed to be somewhat settled.
Board member John Purcell suggested Randall take the money for the meters out of his equipment maintenance budget line item, but Randall disagreed, suggesting the County Board should find another place in the budget to purchase the meters.
"Unless you've got some big bills coming up in the last two months, there appears to be room in there where you could ... just take it right out of there and get it this year," Purcell said.
According to the County Treasurer's office the sheriff's office's equipment maintenance line item was budgeted at $27,000 and the office has spent just over $12,500 through the month of September. The board's fiscal year ends Nov. 30.
"This is your ordinance, it's not the sheriff's office's ordinance to enforce" Randall said.
On Friday, Koster said they were moving forward with purchase and Purcell seemed to be OK with finding another line item for the equipment.
"We got it worked out, we are getting the order and the County Board is going make sure that they're paid for," Koster said. "Wherever the money comes from-it's all the county taxpayer's money."
Purcell echoed those comments.
"I said, 'Scott, don't delay implementing the noise ordinance, the board passed it and for that amount of money we'll figure out a way to pay for it,'" Purcell said, adding that he has been looking at different budget line items but didn't yet know where exactly.
The board could have waited and included it in their 2014 fiscal budget, but Purcell said he didn't think that would be necessary for such a small expense.
"The board passed that and the idea is to allow them to enforce it if necessary and you need the proper tools to do so and we didn't want to wait until the beginning of the year," Purcell said.