Paden City to get tough with lawbreakers
Mayor Bill Fox and Paden City Council members agreed on Monday night to get tough on lawbreakers in Paden City. At the regular council meeting in council chambers, Mayor Fox read a letter sent to Paden City Chief of Police Mike Billiter outlining the new policy for enforcing ordinances set by the council.
“In an effort to enforce our ordinances and to clean up our neighborhoods more expeditiously, I am requesting that you assign each officer a designated ward that this officer shall be responsible to enforce the following ordinances:
Article 505, animals and fowl; Article 507, dogs and cats; Article 533, offenses relating to property; Article 1105, junk and abandoned vehicles; Article 1741, dangerous and unsafe buildings.
This activity will help eliminate many problems and citizen complaints. I want each officer to issue written notices to violators detailing the municipal ordinance violation. I am also requesting that I be given copies of all notices issued.”
“Ordinances are laws,” Fox said in explanation. “They are no better than how we enforce them.”
Fox said that it should not be necessary for citizens of the City to make complaint after complaint about the same things over and over when there are officers on duty 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and council agreed.
“This policy will go into effect on March 1,” the Mayor said. “We want the public to be aware. We’re going to start fining violators, putting names in the paper if fines are given. The police are going to do their duty to enforce the ordinances and the laws.”
“We have a problem with dogs, our ordinance says you must clean up after them. People will get one warning the first time, and then, no more warnings.”
“We’re not trying to be hard headed here, just trying to enforce our laws,” he said.
The police officers will be required to fill out monthly and weekly evaluations, but Fox said it had not been determined yet exactly how these procedures will be evaluated.
“People aren’t taking care of their property, we’ll start enforcing all of the ordinances, all of them,” Fox said. “If we don’t we may as well take them off the books.”
Along the same lines, yet a different topic, the growing stray cat problem in Paden City was discussed. “We are getting two or three phone calls every day about cats,” he said. “Something has to be done. In Sistersville they contacted a company to trap the cats and dispose of them. If our citizens and council want to do this, this is what we will do.”
Again, this problem falls under one of the ordinances which officers will be enforcing.
“If you are feeding cats, you own them,” Fox said. “If you feed them, you’re harboring them. We have to do something to alleviate the problem.”
Billiter said there have been complaints about cats on Broadway every day for at least the last two weeks.
“It’s frustrating,” the mayor said.
Councilman Jarrell Bailey made a motion to hold a special meeting to meet with AAA Animal Control on Feb. 8 in council chambers at 6 p.m. Eileen Smittle seconded the motion and all members voted in favor.
“I think enforcing the ordinances will help,” said Councilman Richard Wright. “Down the road we probably should consider building a dog pound. We’ve got a problem,” said Councilman Wright.
In other business, Mayor Fox read a proclamation concerning the upcoming election which will be held on June 3. A mayor and one member of council from each ward will be elected. Anyone desiring to run for an office must file by April 2 at 4 p.m. in the recorder’s office at the city building.
Councilman Roger Spragg reported that the problem of parents stopping their vehicles at the elementary school dropping off and waiting for their children before and after school has been addressed by the police department and has, for the most part,been resolved.
“Parents are obeying the signs more now, and it’s getting better,” he said.
Council approved a resolution to submit a grant application for improvement projects at the Riverfront Trail. “This money will be for improvements for the walking trail,” the mayor said. “Any improvements, beautification, benches, shrubs, lighting, to reseal the trail, whatever is needed is what this grant money will pay for.”
A handicapped parking request at 207 S. First Ave. from Richard McKay was approved, as was a curb breakage permit by Ed Parsons at 203 First Ave.
The city council also approved the continuation of the Pestech contracts for the city.
Under old business, the mayor updated council on securing a Sewer Plant Operator, Class Two, for the sewer plant. The city signed a renewable three month contract with a company from Clarksburg to provide proper supervision and compliance officers of the sewer plant. “They’ll run the plant, make sure it is up to standard, fill out the paperwork, take the samples, provide maintenance, and help train current operator Ed Rial,” Fox said.
Joanne Casto, the new director of the Paden City Public Library, introduced herself to council and thanked them for the city’s continued support of the library. “Our library is a focal point in the community,” she said. “And it is utilized more than people think.”
“We opened at 1 p.m. today and at least 50 people have come in since then. We’ve probably checked out well over 60 books.”
Casto spoke of the many free programs offered at the library such as one on Identity theft for adults, story hour for pre-schoolers, how to keep your children safe on the Internet, etc.
“Without funding, the library would not be able to function,” she said. “I’d like to invite everyone to come by the library and take part in some of our programs.”
She said the library offers free use of computers and Internet service, including free wireless Wifi. “The computers are busy,” she said. “And many of our customers are searching job sites. You know, when you lose your job you have to cut back where you can, and usually the first thing to go is your Internet hook up. Unfortunately, most available jobs now are posted on the Internet, so a person needs the very thing they just had to sacrifice because they lost their job.”
Assistance is provided for those library patrons unfamiliar with keyboarding and computers. Casto also said through the inter-library loan program, tapes for the blind and cassette tapes for the hearing impaired are available.
The Paden City Public Library also hosts a book club which meets once a week. Interested persons should contact the library for more information.