Marlinton Town Council Animal Ordinance Fails To Pass Muster On Second Reading
Marlinton, WV – Joe Smith, Marlinton Town Council member and Chair of the town’s Animal Ordinance Committee, made a motion to approve a proposed Town Animal and Fowl Ordinance. Councilman Norris Long opposes adoption of the Ordinance in its current form. He reads from a prepared statement.
“Let me first say that I am a supporter for a Dog Ordinance for the Town of Marlinton, and believe that most of our citizens support one as well” says Norris. “I was surprised and disappointed that a review was not available before the official first reading of the Ordinance. I’m also disappointed with myself for voting in favor of the first reading, without a personal review of the Ordinance. I have thoroughly read the proposed Animal and Fowl Ordinance as presented at the last council meeting, and have great concern with portions of the Ordinance.”
Long feels parts of the Ordinance are too specific, while other parts are too vague and over all unenforceable. He says he doesn’t feel the Town should be in the animal welfare business. Mayor Dennis Driscoll asked if the Ordinance had been reviewed by the Town’s Attorney. Smith said the Attorney was consulted on several points but did not review the entire Ordinance.
In defense of the Ordinance’s current form, committee members Nelson Hernandez and Christine Weber, decried the lack of public input. Hernandez and Weber said that if more members of the public would come forward with their ideas and input, a better ordinance could be crafted.
Committee Chair Smith rescinded his motion to adopt and made a motion that the Ordinance be sent back to committee for further work. He says that they will have at least two public meetings and seek community input. Smith is also chairman of the Police Committee and gave this update.
“The Committee met with the Prosecuting Attorney on the few questions on the Sheriff’s Department being authorized to enforce town ordinances” says Smith. “Some of the committee people had did some research on their own, and talked to some attorneys on their own and was advised that they [the Sheriff’s Department] cannot enforce town ordinances. The Prosecuting Attorney came to the meeting, she actually called the meeting and her advice was [that] she concurred that the Sheriff’s department cannot enforce town ordinances; they do not have the authority.”
“Neither do they have the authority to contract with the Town. The County Commission can contract with the Town but not the Sheriff’s department.”
Council voted to extend the current contract with the West Virginia State Police for Town Law Enforcement for a period of six months. The six month provision is to allow flexibility going forward.
Mayor Dennis Driscoll met with Dave Sharp of Potesta Engineering on the 3rd of June. Sharp was originally scheduled to be at the Council Meeting, but felt it was premature until he had more complete data to share with the Council. He did report to the Mayor, and the Mayor briefed the council that some parts of the storm drain system will require smoke testing to receive the approval of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. This test will insure that the sewer and storm drains are separate.
Sharp will present cost estimates for the Required Testing and for the next Phase of Storm Drain construction at the July Council Meeting. Driscoll also reported that the Marlinton Sewer Project is now complete.
Councilman Smith announced that Marlinton will have a July 4th Celebration this year. It will be from 6:30 to 9:30 pm at the Mini Park. There will be live music at the Gazebo, free watermelon courtesy of the Chamber of Commerce, and Ice Cream from “Go Marlinton.” He says they are trying to arrange for the bouncy structures for the kids and that cold drinks will be available.
A new mural by Pocahontas County artist Molly Must located on the House of Style building will be dedicated at 4 pm on July 4th as well. That building is at the east end of the Route 39 Bridge, across from the Greenbrier Grill.