Councilman wants town to take stock of ordinances

by Geoff Fox

Councilman Leo Murray would like Hancock councilmen to have a work session where town officials can put the town’s ordinances into better order.

Murray said he has been going through them with fellow Councilman Tim Boyer and also suggested possibly Tim Smith and Roland Lanehart, Jr. get together and go over them as well.

Murray proposed two groups, along with Mayor Ralph Salvagno, would compare notes and see what needs to be changed.

There is currently a company codifying the ordinances,  meaning they are putting the various town laws into a uniform order and cataloging them by subject. Once that task is finished, Salvagno said the town would know what they have and revisions can be proposed to any town laws that need to be updated.

Two public hearings are required for any ordinance changes.

Salvagno said in the past, one hearing happens concurrently with a public town meeting, while the second happens in the weeks between meetings.

He said a review of ordinances would be a “learning exercise” for town officials to find duplicate ordinances or rules that might not apply anymore.

Murray pointed there are other towns where ordinances state buildings need to be taken care of and there is such an ordinance on the books in Hancock.

“But nobody ever enforces it,” he said.
Lanehart said he’s all for the review as there are some ordinances that need to be changed and some that need better enforcement.

The mayor said a number of ordinances are not applicable anymore or are outdated. The mayor said if ordinances are updated, they should be left with the intent that they are going to be enforced.

“If you’re not going to enforce them, there’s no sense them being there,” Salvagno said.

He said practical advice from Police Chief Jim Robison and town manager would also be helpful.

He added the town’s attorney, Brian Kane, would also be involved.

Murray said he had been talking to Robison about a sign in town stating bicycles are not allowed on sidewalls.

As a bicycle town, Murray said they would need to come up with something where people can ride from Widmyer Park to Pennsylvania Avenue and then push the bike through the business district.

“I’d like to get things to where everything is going to be enforced or not enforced,” Murray said.

Boyer said it’s a good time to sit down with something that could take some time to get taken care of.