An item was discussed at the May 3 county supervisors' meeting in Globe that deserves the full attention of all rural citizens of Gila County. That is, all the people who live in unincorporated areas.
There has been an effort, at the county level, for some time now to "clean up" the county, using the criminal code.
This has not succeeded to the desired degree, so the plan is to turn to the civil code. At a recent meeting, a presentation was made by the coordinator of the Pinal County Hearings Program for enforcing the Pinal County Zoning and Building Code.
Oversimplified, this program consists of fines of from $100 to $1,000 per day, after suitable grace periods, for people who don't maintain their property according to the standards of the Pinal County Zoning and Building Code. Perhaps the most attention grabbing part of the presentation was the attitude of the presenter, the Pinal County Program Coordinator.
She was a former IRS employee, and obviously enjoyed enforcing any regulations to the absolute letter-of-the-law. Once you were in the arms of her bureaucracy, it was obvious that you were either going to "clean up" or "cough up."
Now there is nothing intrinsically wrong with a "clean up" campaign. It is all in how it is constructed, and enforced.
Gila County has no shortage of self-appointed experts on the subject of how other people should live. People of this ilk also are prone to use the law to regiment and regulate the lifestyles of those who they consider less well informed.
People like this are quite likely to volunteer for committees to draw up Planning and Zoning Codes, and the rules and penalties for enforcing them.
Knowing that many of the rural residents of Gila County are here because they felt that there were too many rules and regulations where they lived before, I can see confrontation coming, and Lord knows we don't need any more of that right now.
This all means nothing to me, personally. I live in an incorporated area. I plan no more reporting on the subject. However, I do recommend that rural residents follow this project closely, as Gila County administration develops it, so that those affected are sure you have something you can live with, if applied to the letter-of-the law.
Dan Adams, Payson