LEESBURG — Bringing consistency to the town’s ordinance fine system was the main topic at the Leesburg town council meeting held Monday, March 11.
A complaint last month by two residents regarding an ongoing issue with barking dogs led to a review of the town’s ordinances and penalties. Council members have been cracking down on vehicle violations in recent months.
“Our penalties, in general, are somewhat antiquated,” said Leesburg Street Commissioner Craig Charlton.
“Here’s the thing that I didn’t especially like about the way our ordinances are done,” said Council President Christina Archer. “In section 91.15 it talks about prohibited situations, including dogs bothering other people, chasing vehicles, the barking issue, noxious fumes — they’re all sort of lumped together. Then 91.16 has to do with dogs that are running loose. Another one has to do with dogs that are in heat, and they all have slightly different penalties.”
Archer stated that in ordinance 91.03 the penalties could range from $1 to a maximum of $5. This was passed in 1982.
“For dogs running loose, the fines or penalties could range from $1 to $25 and they fall under section 91.99, which was passed in 1963,” said Archer. “so you have ones that range from $1 to $5 to $1 to $25 and then the ones that cover barking dogs go back to a completely different part of the code, 10.99, which the penalties on that are similar to our traffic penalties, $25 for the first offense, $100 for the second offense and $200 for the third offense.”
Archer expressed her desire to come up with something consistent regarding the fines.
At that time, Charlton provided council members with a copy of an updated and restructured penalty system. Charlton said he would like to see additional information included, in order to clarify the responsibilities of property owners.
The updated summary shows a general penalty of $25 for a first offense, $100 for the second offense and $200 for the third offense.
“I think we need to bring it up to date,” said Council Member Doug Jones. “That way when somebody asks, we know what it is. It’s $25, $100 and $200.”
Archer stressed there is a structure in place where residents are given a verbal warning and a copy of the ordinance the first time a violation occurs, as well as 30 days to correct the problem without any penalty whatsoever.
“Even after that has taken place, only then do they actually get a written warning with a date for it to be corrected, so there is a very long period that they have where they’re not going to be penalized in any way unless they just absolutely refuse to take any action,” said Archer, “so I feel comfortable in having these penalties being what they are as we have for our traffic violations.”
Attorney Vern Landis agreed to type up a legal document related to the updates and additions and bring the draft to the next meeting. At that time council members will be able to view the document in its entirety and have the option of approving or rejecting the revised ordinance fine system.
Council Vice-President Tom Moore addressed electrical issues at the main pumping station.
“Progress is being made,” said Moore. “It was established that this problem is not directly related to the two new pumps that were installed. We’re finally working toward a solution.”
Moore said the issue mainly involves the incoming electrical power supply to the station as well as possible internal components inside the station. According to Moore, reports submitted by NIPSCO and Herrman & Goetz, Elkhart, corroborated and confirmed that an issue with electricity is causing the bulk of the troubles.
- A hearing was held and additional appropriations were approved. The sum of $140,000 will be transferred from the edit fund to the general fund to be used for the town hall remodeling project.
- No parking on any street between 3-5 a.m.
- No burning in the town of Leesburg.
- A frozen and busted check valve was discovered yesterday at the main lift station. A replacement valve has been ordered.
- Council members approved upgrades to the town hall electrical system in the amount of $3,816.
- The next regular meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 8.