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Mohave County Supervisors concerned that citizens don’t have access to ordinances

April 8, 2019

The issue of county ordinances and their availability to the public was brought up by Chairwoman Hildy Angius during the Mohave County Board of Supervisors meeting last week.

The supervisors are trying to figure out if the county should continue to use a company called Municode, which publishes legal documents for local governments and uploads municipal legislation through “printed loose-leaf pages” and “various electronic formats,” according to the company’s page.

Mohave County started to use Municode a few years ago in order to provide citizens with online access to searchable ordinances. Somehow, however, a few of them got jumbled together, causing confusion that was reported by a private party.

It is not entirely clear who is to be blamed for the current errors in Municode, but as an effect, in a few instances the law online is not identical to the original law passed by the supervisors.

“Supervisors pass ordinances and that is the law of the land,” said Deputy County Attorney Ryan Esplin. “In Municode, some ordinances don’t look exactly like the ordinances passed by the supervisors.”

On the other hand, Angius pointed out that the problem was caused by the county, who failed to follow up with the company and conduct a legal review. The supervisors agreed the service is affordable and possibly requires only some tweaks. After all, Municode seems to work well for Lake Havasu City and Bullhead City.

At the same time, Supervisor Ron Gould expressed doubt if the county should be “outsourcing” having the law put together by an outside company in the first place.

“I don’t think we can delegate our authority like that,” Gould said.

Additionally, ordinances put together by legal staff have a good chance to be challenged in court.

This lively discussion will continue at a public hearing scheduled for Monday, May 6, for which Esplin will prepare legal background to fill the board in on all the options they have.

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