Bath Council passes animal control and bike ordinances; Town Recorder resigns
Bath Town Recorder Garnet Marsh is resigning her post as of September 30. Mayor Susan Webster announced Marsh's resignation at the Tuesday, September 4 council meeting. Marsh did not attend the meeting.
Marsh is leaving the council because she is moving to a home outside of town. Only residents of the Town of Bath may serve on council.
Marsh served one full two year term as Recorder and was reelected to a second term in June. Marsh served on many town committees including Planning, Finance, Water and Streetscape. Marsh also served on the Farmers Market Committee.
Marsh is expected to continue to serve on the Streetscape and Farmers Market committees.
"I will truly miss her. I have grown to depend on her so much," Webster said.
Council may appoint a person to fill the Recorder position. Town residents who wish to serve should send a written request to the Town of Bath.
Bicycle law passes
Council held a public hearing and second reading of Ordinance 2007-07 which prohibits the riding of bicycles on designated sidewalks and pedestrian walkways. No one from the public opposed the ordinance and it passed unanimously.
The law prohibits riding bicycles on Washington Street between Route 9 East and Route 9 West and on Fairfax Street from Green Street to Wilkes Street.
The fine for a first offense is $25, for a second offense within a year $35 and upon the third offense within a year the bicycle will be impounded with a $50 fine for return.
Parents of underage violators are liable for any fines or fees.
Animal Control law passes
Council also held a public hearing and second reading of Ordinance 2007-06 which establishes guidelines for animal control. Three citizens attended the hearing in support of the ordinance. After one minor change in the wording, the ordinance passed unanimously.
The ordinance allows Bath Town Police to seize and impound any dog older than six months of age not wearing a valid registration tag. Owners will be notified within 24 hours and have five days after notification to pick up the dog before it is adopted out or humanely destroyed.
Owners or keepers (person who feeds) of any dog which is permitted to run free is liable for any damage done by the dog and subject to a fine of $50 - $100. Upon a second offense the owner is subject to a fine of $100 - $150, plus damages.
"No person may walk a dog on any public property unless such person possesses and uses a sanitary and practical means for prompt disposal of animal excrement," the ordinance states. Violators will be warned on a first offense and fined $25 for subsequent offenses.
Dogs may not be tethered, chained, tied or restrained to a doghouse, fence or any stationary object for a significant period of time.
Dogs may be attached to a running line, pulley or trolley system at least 15 feet in length for a dog less than 50 pounds and 25 feet for a dog over 50 pounds.
Dogs may be fenced in an area of 100 square feet per dog with a fence high enough to prevent the dogs from escaping.
A dog that lives inside is permitted to be outside without restraint if under voice control by the owner.
Adequate shelter of strong construction that is sanitary must be provided for outside dogs.
Persons found to be in violation will be given a warning and 14 days to correct problems. If problems are not corrected within 14 days, the owner will be fined $50-$100 and the dog confiscated.
The Morgan County Humane Society will have between one and five days to assess the dog and decide whether to keep it. If the humane society decides to keep the dog, 50 percent of the fines collected will go to the humane society to help with costs incurred for sheltering the dog.
Owners of dogs that have been confiscated will not be allowed to own another dog while a resident of the Town of Bath.
Webster recognized Council-woman Nancy Harvey and concerned citizen Rebecca Mallory for their work on the ordinance.
Apple Butter parking issue
Kevin Mallory asked council to take action to prevent people attending the Apple Butter Festival October 6-7 from parking in front of residences on Wilkes Street. Residents who work or go out on festival days often come home and have no place to park.
Webster asked Police Chief James Minton to look into signs to designate areas of streets for residential parking only and to issue dashboard signs that identify residents' cars. Violators will be subject to towing.
New garbage truck
Council again held a discussion about buying a new garbage truck. The town's one truck broke down this week causing some delay in picking up some residential and commercial trash. The town of Hancock helped out by loaning Bath a garbage truck temporarily, while the town's truck was repaired.
Councilman David Crosby said that in order to afford the new truck a 10 percent increase in garbage collection bills would be necessary. Crosby said that even with the rate increase, the cost to citizens would still be less than what county residents pay for garbage collection.
Councilman Kenny Easton agreed that a new truck should be purchased and rates should be increased.
Webster said that reliable garbage collection was a health and safety issue for the town and asked that the issue of a new truck be put on the agenda for the next council meeting.
Minton gave council a proposal for increasing parking fines. He said that current fines are well below those of neighboring towns and that it was time that fines were increased.
Minton also asked and received permission to send off 12 parking meters for repair.
Patrolman First Class Richard Haynes graduated third out of a class of 41 on August 24 at Police Academy in Institute. Haynes has been back on the job in town since the last week in August.