The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

June 30, 2012

New laws to hit books

CLINTON — Several new Iowa laws and penalties go into effect Sunday. Among them is a law that exempts landlords from liens based on tenants unpaid utility bills.

“This is in no way a positive thing for the city of Clinton,” Clinton Finance Director Jessica Kinser said to the Rules and Regulations committee earlier this month.

Currently the city can roll the unpaid sewer utility bills into the landlord’s property taxes to ensure payment at some point.  

However, under the new law, unpaid bills will be sent to a collection agency.  The city currently collects 16 percent of the ambulance debt it bills through a collection agency. Because Clinton does not own its own water, shutting off service is not an option.

“If the form is complete and everything is done and I leave a bill of $500 with the city, the city’s out, send it to collections...That’s the reality of this,” Kinser said.

To be exempt, landlords will be required to complete the utility lien exemption form drafted by the city, stay registered with the Building and Neighborhood Services Department as a rental property and inform the city in writing within 30 days that a tenant has vacated as well as any changes in ownership. If the landlord does not follow these guidelines, he or she will not be exempt from having a lien placed on the property.

While the exact financial impact has yet to be determined, there are more than 1,400 rental units in Clinton.

The Rules and Regulations committee next week, on the recommendation of the Internal Operations committee, will discuss a red-flag policy that would enable safeguards so the city could collect social security numbers from renters.  With the social security numbers, the city would be able to collect payment through the Iowa income offset program. The city cannot collect unpaid bills through the program without a social security number.  

“We cannot deny service to anybody for unpaid debt. It’s always going to be sort of the bane of our existence as a sewer utility only,” Kinser said.

Some other new laws and fines include:

• House File 2228 — The 2009 “move over” law requires drivers to move over or slow down when approaching a stopped emergency, tow or maintenance vehicle with flashing lights.  Drivers must also yield the right-of-way to emergency vehicles with flashing lights and sirens on. Penalties for violations of the law will increase.

The increased penalties include mandatory license suspension when a driver is convicted of a violation of the law that results in damage to property, injury or death as well as higher fines. Those convicted of a violation resulting in damage to property will face a 90-day license suspension.  An injury-causing violation will result in license suspension for 180 days and a $500 fine while a death-causing violation will carry a year-long license suspension and a $1,000 fine.

• Senate File 2218 — Known as “Kadyn’s Law” for a 7-year-old girl who was killed last year by a driver who was illegally passing a stopped school bus.

The law increases the penalty for those who pass a school bus with an extended stop sign with flashing lights from $200 to a range of $250 to $675 with 30 days in jail for the first offense.

Following violations could result in fines up to $1,875. If a driver causes injury, he or she could face additional fines, jail time or a suspended license.  

•House File 2403 — The law authorizes the Iowa DOT to waive the driving skills test for a commercial driving license for active duty military or has separated from service within 90 days as long as the person meets certain requirements.

Those military personnel seeking a CDL cannot have more than one conviction of an offense committed while operating any type of motor vehicle that is listed as a serious traffic violation and cannot have had any driver’s license suspended, revoked, or canceled, as well as other stipulations.

• Snowmobile and hunting fees — Those using public land or private snowmobile trails will now have to purchase a $15 permit.

The fee will go toward maintaining the trails. Iowans also will now be able to buy a three-year hunting permit as well as a permit to use a third line when fishing. Each license sold is matched by federal funds for habitat management.

Text Only
Local News
  • Dutch Days grand marshals Fulton couple honored as grand marshals

    Bob and Trudy Feldt have been dedicated to the city of Fulton for decades. Whether it be Trudy's 27-year commitment to teaching the children of the community at the River Bend School District, Bob's 33-year career with the Fulton-born c

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Court denies man's appeal in robbery CLINTON -- The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld a conviction of a man who robbed a Clinton pawn shop in 2012. Darrell L. Thomas recently appealed his first-degree robbery conviction to the Iowa Court of Appeals. The court released its decision Wednes

    April 17, 2014

  • CCDA will match funds to secure van

    CLINTON -- One local non-profit organization soon will benefit from a donation from the Clinton County Development Association but it's not their typical form of grant giving. During a meeting Wednesday, CCDA members discussed the possibility of matc

    April 17, 2014

  • Jury deliberating in sex abuse case CLINTON -- Jurors were set to return to court this morning to continue deliberating on the trial of a man accused of sexually abusing a 3-year-old girl. The jury deliberated for more than two hours on the Russell McColley case Wednesday afternoon, be

    April 17, 2014

  • City considers upsizing storm sewer capacity CAMANCHE -- Residential development is a key component to the fortitude of Camanche, according to city leaders so they are taking the steps necessary to keep it an appealing location for future investors. To do so, those leaders are looking to up siz

    April 16, 2014

  • Schools will continue sports-sharing agreements CLINTON -- Students attending Camanche, Central DeWitt, Northeast and Prince of Peace schools still will be able to participate in the athletic programs offered in the Clinton School District. At a meeting Monday, Clinton School Board members approve

    April 16, 2014

  • Sex abuse trial continues CLINTON -- Assistant County Attorney Ross Barlow began his case Tuesday against a man charged with sexual abuse of a 3-year-old girl. Russell McColley, 39, is charged with second-degree sexual abuse, a class B felony carrying as much as 25 years in

    April 16, 2014

  • Cattail Slough closed due to high water FULTON, Ill. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi River Project announces that Cattail Slough recreation area south of Fulton has been closed due to high water levels. The recreation area will remain closed until it has dried out sufficie

    April 16, 2014

  • Thefts from farms investigated MOUNT CARROLL, Ill. — Carroll County Crime Stoppers is asking for help to solve two recent burglaries being investigated by the Carroll County Sheriff's Department. A caller could receive a reward of as much as $1,000 for information leading to an ar

    April 16, 2014

  • 4-16-14 Braley Visit Local candidates gear up for primary election CLINTON -- The campaign trail is heating up a little early this year for Iowa politicians as the primary election is on the horizon and many challengers await. Three Republican primary races are causing those candidates to get their names and faces o

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

Clinton Herald photos

Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.