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Village hires firm to bring code book to digital age PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mark Jaeger   
Wednesday, 01 February 2017 19:59

Once recodification is complete, a searchable document will be online

Village of Fredonia officials have contracted with an outside firm to bring their ordinances into the digital age.

The Village Board has hired General Code, a municipal codification specialist based in Rochester, N.Y., to update and digitize its ordinances.

That service carries an upfront cost of $14,900, with an annual fee of $995 to keep the codes current.

The village last conducted a comprehensive recodification of its ordinances in 1994 by another firm, with a supplemental update made in 2013.

Marcia Clifford, an attorney and account manager with General Code, explained the updating process to trustees at a meeting last month.

The village’s code of ordinances will undergo a careful analysis to ensure the latest laws are included throughout the text.

“The scope of the services is to include research and editorial and legal review to identify conflicts, inconsistencies and other problem areas in need of updating or correction,” the codification proposal said.

Conflicts, Clifford said, can come in the form of contradictory standards expressed in different sections of the code or local rules that do not comply with state law. A thorough proofreading of the ordinance  book will also be conducted.

“This may be the first time in years you’ve looked closely at your ordinances, if ever,” Clifford said.

The ordinance book will be studied by a code editor who will breakdown ordinances into a workbook format, inviting careful village review.

That manuscript will show the current wording and any proposed changes.

“The village will review the editorial and legal analysis and make the final decision on any changes that are deemed necessary,” the service summary explains.

Village officials and the village attorney would be involved in the entire process prior to the development of a draft document.

“We don’t pass judgement on what you’ve done,” Clifford said.

“We will look at the wording we feel needs some work but we build your code from what you give us. We want you to recognize it as your code.”

A comprehensive cross-index will also be developed, making it easier to research topics.

Because of the thorough approach used by the firm, it could take between 12 and 18 months before the updated code is completed.

In addition to printed copies of the code, the firm will make a digital version for online posting through a service it calls eCode 360. The initial charge includes the setup and first year of service, with subsequent annual charges if the village wants to continue offering the online version.

That digital code book would feature a search feature, allowing instant access to all ordinances on a specified topic. An automated list of the top five queries would also be featured.

“A lot of people will find this a very convenient and easy way to access your code,” Clifford said.

Although it is the first time the village has worked with General Code, she said the firm has done recodification work with several area communities, including Saukville and Belgium.

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