To serve you better, we've assembled a list of our residents' most frequently asked questions. If you don't find your answer here, feel free to contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions


How long does it take to get a library card?

Our librarian will be able to supply you with a new library card the same day you apply.

Are electronic books available?

Yes, contact your local branch for more information.

Does the Library have "story time" for younger children?

We do offer "story time" for younger children!  Give us a call if the current schedule is not posted.

City Council

When does the City Council Meet?

City County meets on the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month (unless that Monday is a holiday then they meet on Tuesday) at 7:00PM in the Council Chambers located in City Hall.

City Hall

What hours is City Hall open?

City Hall is open from 8am - 5pm Monday through Friday.

Municipal Court

Procedures & Fines

May I have a lawyer at a contested hearing?

You may, at your own expense, have a lawyer appear and represent you at your hearing. If you are to be represented by counsel, the lawyer is required to file a notice of appearance with the Court, and the Colfax Municipal Prosecutor, prior to the hearing date.

What if I live to far away to come to court?

If you live beyond a 60-mile radius of the court, or if appearing in court presents an extreme hardship, you may request a mitigation hearing by mail. You must appear in person to contest your case. The clerk will schedule your hearing and you must have your letter to the court by the date specified. Failure to do so will result in the assessment of a $52 late penalty and the process to suspend your license will begin. The court will review your written sworn affidavit as well as the citing officer’s report and make a decision. You will be provided with a written judgment and, if a fine is imposed, given 15 business days from the date of judgment to pay. A time pay option may also be requested.

What about a "no liability insurance" ticket?

If you receive a ticket for no insurance, and you had insurance at the time of the ticket, you may file proof of insurance with the Court Clerk along with a $25.00 administrative fee. It must provide proof that you indeed had insurance at the time of the stop, not quickly thereafter. The clerk can then dismiss that charge without you having to come to Court before the judge. If you obtained insurance after you received the ticket, you may request a mitigation hearing (2) on the back of your green copy of the ticket to explain the circumstances and show your policy to the judge. You must do this within the 15 day response time.

Can I appeal a contested hearing judgement?

If you do not prevail at your contested hearing you have the right to appeal to the Superior Court of Whitman County. The notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days of the judgment. There will be various appeal costs, payable in advance, including a $200 Superior Court filing fee and costs for copying the Court recording. If you choose to appeal your case, the Superior Court will review the record that was made at the Colfax Municipal Court, but there will not be a new trial. The Clerk’s office will provide you with the information about the appellate process.

What happens if I fail to pay for a ticket or don't appear in court?

A failure to pay or respond to the ticket within 15 days results in an order that the infraction was committed. If you asked for a hearing and did not appear your payment is due immediately. When an infraction is not paid in a timely manner or a hearing is missed, a $52 late penalty is added to the amount shown on the ticket. Your license may then be suspended if the penalty is not paid following a notice to pay the increased penalty, and the account will be assigned to a collection agency.

What happens at my initial appearance in court?

A defendant’s (the accused) first appearance in Court. At this court appearance, the defendant is informed of the charges, or potential charges, and potential penalties, informed of his/her rights, given the opportunity to apply for a court appointed attorney, bail is set and a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest is entered. If a plea is guilty or no contest, sentencing takes place or a Sentencing Hearing is set.

What is a motion?

A verbal or written request that asks the judge to rule on a legal question made by the prosecutor or the public defender where they try to resolve the case without a trial.

What is a pre-trial conference?

An informal hearing between the prosecutor, the defense attorney and the defendant where the case is attempted to be resolved without a trial.

What is a status conference?

A court hearing set so that the parties can discuss if an agreement can be reached before the trial date. If an agreement has been reached, it could become a plea and sentencing hearing.

What is a trial?

An official hearing in which either a jury (jury trial) or judge (bench trial) hears the facts of the case. Through physical evidence and testimony by witnesses, the prosecutor attempts to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant’s guilt. If the defendant is found guilty, the judge may sentence the defendant immediately or set the case for a sentencing hearing.

What is a plea/sentencing hearing?

A court hearing in which the judge decides how to punish and rehabilitate the defendant. A sentencing hearing follows a plea of guilty or no contest plea, or a finding of guilty by a jury or judge.

Building Permits

What is the process for getting a building permit?

Take a moment to read all required information provided. Then print and fill out the appropriate permit application form and return to City Hall.  Should you have any additional questions, please feel free to give us a call or send us an email.  We will be happy to help you.

Police Department

Is there a non-emergency number I can call to speak with an officer?

Yes, you can call 509-397-4616.

Sanitation & Recycling

When are the garbage collection days for my street?

See Empire's website or download their app.

Utility Billing

How could I have used this much water?

You may not have - the numbers on your meter may have been transposed or hard to read. You could possibly have a leaky toilet or faucet that's difficult to detect. Just call the office and we'll work with you to solve the problem.

My bill is past due can I get an extension?

Please contact our office and a one-time extension will be extended to you for extenuating circumstances.

What do I do if I am experiencing low pressure?

Check your meter and the surrounding area for possible leaks. Next, call our office and report low pressure for your area.

Why do I have a previous balance when I know I sent in my payment?

We may have received it after the due date or we may not have received it at all. Call our office and we will help you solve the problem.

Why is my water discolored?

A repair could have been completed recently allowing air to enter the line, causing the milky look.

New Resident Resources

How do I sign up to receive Alerts and News & Notices?

Simply click the "Sign Up for Alerts" button located ……fill out the brief form with your preferred contact information and click submit

Where do I go to vote?

All City elections are conducted by the Whitman County Elections.