Bath Council proposes animal control and bicycle ordinances
Town of Bath Council had the first reading of two new ordinances that would add stiff fines for violators and give police the power to impound dogs and confiscate bicycles.
Councilwoman Nancy Harvey read both ordinances to council at the Tuesday, August 21 meeting. A second reading and public hearing will be held at the next scheduled council meeting on Tuesday, September 4.
Ordinance 2007-06 quotes state laws that police "may seize on sight any dog not wearing a valid registration tag and older than six months of age." After five days, the dog can be put up for adoption or humanely destroyed.
Fines for a first offense are between $50 and $100 and for a second offense fines range from $150 to $200, plus the cost of impounding the animal.
"Any owner or keeper of any dog which permits such dog to run at large shall be liable for any damage upon the person or property of another by such dog, while running at large."
Pooper scooper clause
Ordinance 2007-06 states that any person walking a dog on public property must possess a means of sanitary disposal of "animal excrement." After a first offense warning, violators will be fined $25 for a second offense.
Humane treatment of dogs
In what might prove to be the most controversial part of the ordinance, dogs are no longer allowed to be tied, tethered or chained to a dog house, fence or any other stationary object on the owner's property or property of owner's landlord.
A dog may be attached to a running line, pulley or trolley system that is at least 15 ft. for a dog under 50 pounds and 25 ft. for larger dogs. Dogs may not be tethered using a choke, pinch or prong collar or by use of a chain around the dog's neck.
If the dog is confined outside, the area must be at least 100 sq. ft. per dog and fenced in on all sides by a fence high enough to prevent the dog's escape. Outside dogs must have adequate shelter of sound construction and must be sanitary.
A dog that lives inside is allowed to be outside without confinement if the dog is under the owner's voice control.
Persons found in violation will have 14 days to correct problems. If problems are not corrected within 14 days, the owner will be fined $50 to $150.
The Morgan County Humane Society will be given one to five days to evaluate any dog confiscated under the ordinance. If the Humane Society assumes ownership, 50% of fine proceeds will go to the society to help pay for costs incurred from seized animals.
Ordinance 2007-07 prohibits the riding of bicycles on designated pedestrian walkways. Bicycles are prohibited on all pedestrian walkways along Washington Street between Route 9 east and Route 9 west and on Fairfax Street downtown.
Violators will be fined $25 for a first offense and $35 for a second offense. If the violator is a minor, the parents will be fined. If a third offense occurs, the bicycle will be confiscated by police. A $50 fee will be assessed for return of the bicycle.
Councilman David Crosby suggested an amendment to
the work permit ordinance that would allow owners to do
small jobs on their property
that cost under $50 without obtaining a work permit.
The item will be put on the agenda for discussion at the next council meeting.
Councilman and Chairman of the Public Safety Committee Dale Lutman made a motion to council to rehire former part time officer Ken Winter. Winter resigned abruptly last month over a personnel dispute after meeting with council in executive session.
Since that time, Winter has had discussions with Mayor Susan Webster, Police Chief James Minton and members of the Public Safety Committee.
Council agreed to rehire Winter at his former salary on a limited part time basis. Webster instructed the Public Safety Committee to look into a more permanent solution for the problem of police being shorthanded.
Minton said that town workers are in the process of replacing all missing street signs in town.
Minton also suggested that four parking meters be installed above the parking lot behind BB&T on the west side of Mercer Street between Fairfax and Bath streets.
Some discussion followed on whether the meters should be four or eight hour meters. The police have working four hour meters in stock but would have to send broken eight hour meters out for repair before they could be used.
One suggestion was to pull eight hour meters from other more central areas of town to use on Mercer Street and replace them with four hour meters. Council gave the Public Safety Committee the authority to handle the issue.
Other council business
The VFW Ladies Auxiliary asked council in a letter to permit them to distribute Buddy Poppies to support disabled veterans and widows of disabled veterans. The poppies will be distributed on Saturday, September 8 in front of Roy's Service Station and CNB bank. Council approved the request.
Councilwoman Nancy Harvey said the historic survey book should be available for viewing in the Morgan County Public Library by Monday, August 27. The book may be checked out for viewing and copying but not removed from the library.
Webster said that she got the answers to two questions the council had raised at the last meeting at the Municipal League conference in Charleston that she and Town Clerk Margie Allgyer attended August 9 - 11.
Regarding the question of whether the town is bound strictly to the letter of the law in enforcing the Clear Air Act, the answer is yes. Webster said that it is ultimately the Morgan County Health Department's responsibility to enforce the law, but it was felt that the law would primarily be self regulating due to social pressure.
Another question concerning the ability of the town to annex the Greenway Cemetery was also answered, Webster said. She said that towns have the ability to do "shoestring" or "pipe stem" annexations by annexing the road that connects a town to a property.
Webster said before the cemetery could be annexed, a survey would have to be done and the county would have to approve. A portion of Johnson's Mill Road leading to the cemetery would be part of any annexation.
Council approved the final payments to Thrasher Engineering and Cowgirl Up. Webster said the water project came in on budget.