BALDWIN -- The Lake County Board of Commissioners approved an amended building department electrical permit consent agreement for RV and campsite poles at its meeting March 11.

The agreement allows the county to do an initial inspection for electrical service at RV and campsites and conduct annual inspections of the site to ensure compliance with county regulations.

"If someone wants to get electrical service for camping and RV hook up, there's two parts - there's the building code for electrical and inspection, and there's land use ordinances," Lake County Administrator Tobi Lake said.

"Years ago, the county set up this agreement where they will provide electrical for the cost of an inspection plus $25. The agreement says, now that you have electricity, we're not going to find a house on it unless you get septic and water. If you're going to keep it, then we will inspect it annually to make sure you didn't put a house on."

According to the agreement, the permit allows for camping only, and prohibits the property owner from building on the site, disposing of solid waste or installing a well and septic without the proper permits. Property owners also must pay an annual inspection fee of $25.

Lake said the agreement will now allow the county to file in small claims court to encourage property owners to comply with regulations.

According to the agreement, any property owner found to be in violation of the agreement may be issued a citation and required to appear in court. In addition, the property owner will be responsible for all costs incurred in enforcing the agreement.

It also allows for the property owner to terminate the agreement in the event that well and septic are installed, providing the owner has the proper permits for such.

"This update gives people a better out and imposes stricter enforcement if they don't renew," Lake said. "Those were two things that address the problems we had."

David Wright, code official for the Lake County Building Department, said the agreement gives the building department access to property to make sure things are being cared for correctly.

"Without that annual $25 fee, it's hard to justify sending someone out there to inspect," he said. "Previously, it appeared there was no legal way for the county to enforce that, so we added something in there where the county has some legal authority to pursue an individual to fulfill the obligation. This gives the county the opportunity to get compliance."

Millage Renewals

In other business, Lake informed the board about two millages that are up for renewal -- the ambulance service and the road patrol.

"These are millages that will need to go to the voters for renewal this year," Lake said. "The ambulance millage expired in December 2019. You agreed to put that on the August ballot.

"Road patrol will expire this year," he added. "If you do nothing, there will still be a levy on December 1 of this year under the current authorization, but it will need to be renewed beyond that."

The current millage for road patrol is set at 2.9907 mills and generates about $1.73 million. The current millage for ambulance service is .9969 and generated around $575,000.

Lake said these are renewals and will not increase the amount of taxes residents currently pay.

The board will need to decide whether to place the road patrol millage on the August ballot, as well, or wait until the November ballot, he said.

No action was taken. Board members will take up the issue at the next meeting.