2013-06-22 / News

Barking dogs could get costly

By Charles Prince

The forecasted derecho for last Wednesday night didn’t materialize, but the strong winds still destroyed most of the Millersport Veterans Memorial. All seven flag poles were ripped out, overturning a brick wall. Beacon photo by Charles Prince. The forecasted derecho for last Wednesday night didn’t materialize, but the strong winds still destroyed most of the Millersport Veterans Memorial. All seven flag poles were ripped out, overturning a brick wall. Beacon photo by Charles Prince. MILLERSPORT - Complaints from several Fourth Avenue area residents about barking dogs is prompting changes to the village’s barking ordinance enacted in 1967.

“I want to update the legislation,” Mayor Dean Severance said at Tuesday night’s village council meeting. The soon-to-be 46-year old ordinance calls for $25 fines, but Severance believes it’s unclear whether that is per dog or per incident.

The residents complained that barking from five hunting dogs owned by Brandon Long makes it difficult to sleep at night and to enjoy their backyards. Long, who also attended the meeting, responded defensively at first, telling his neighbors, “If you have a problem come to me.” The neighbors said they had come to him, noting that he no longer regularly lives at the house with the kennels. As Long got more heated, Police Chief Mark Consolo asked Long to talk with him outside. When he returned, Long apologized for his temper. “I’m sorry,” he said. “That’s my lifestyle. I’ll defend my dogs to the day they die or I die.”

One of the dogs is currently fitted with an electronic training collar that provides up to six levels of ‘correction,’ depending on the level of barking. Long promised outfit the four other dogs with similar collars. “I will do what I can to take care of it,” he promised. “Give me a little bit of time.”

Consolo advised the neighbors to call 9-1-1 when barking is excessive and a nuisance. It is important to document their complaints, he said. Severance suggested a revised ordinance providing for one warning from police accompanied with a copy of the ordinance. Additional violations would be minor misdemeanors with perhaps a $100 fine for the first violation and $200 per violation thereafter.

Council President Charles Mesko thought Long might also be violating zoning regulations by having more than three dogs. Mayors Assistant Vince Popo will check on whether it is a zoning violation.

In other business Tuesday night, council members unanimously approved the final step to put a 2.7 mill replacement levy for current operations on the November ballot. The millage or tax rate is unchanged, but voters will be asked to approve it as a continuous or permanent levy instead of requiring voters to reconsider it every five years.

Council members also suspended the three reading rule to adopt a resolution transferring ownership of the former Sohio station at 12280 Lancaster Street from Charles E. Taylor to the Village. The rundown apartment building was condemned by the health department last September. It was also foreclosed for failure to pay taxes and went to public auction on April 26 and May 10, 2013, receiving no bids. Popo said it is expected to take 10 working days to transfer ownership. Once that is done, it will be demolished with the village reimbursed by the Moving Ohio Forward program.

A resolution was also approved to hire Chase Wood as a part-time water treatment plant operator at $13 per hour. He will be picking up the hours that parttime employee Mike Bergum is giving up.

In his report, Consolo said community watch volunteers started orientation patrols Sunday night. “They are the extra eyes and ears in the community,” Consolo said. He added that the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office has donated a light bar for the patrol vehicle and some additional radios. The police department is nearing its full complement of officers, he added. An officer will soon be on duty everyday and they are getting closer to 24/7 coverage.

“The pool looks better than it has in the last nine years,” Popo reported. “It looks really, really good.” He thanked Lisa Brown and her family for dozens of hours of volunteer work at the pool. Popo said Mark Fry cleaned up all the electrical work. A new sand volleyball court has been constructed. The next project is to paint the fence, Popo said. Cutting the daily admission price to $2 for youth has brought more swimmers. “It is being used,” he said. Popo said all the tickets for the drawing for the three griller packages from Bower & Sons Meat have been sold. The next fundraiser will be a chicken dinner.

Though last Wednesday’s storm didn’t turn into the forecasted derecho, the strong winds destroyed most of the Millersport Veterans’ Memorial. All seven flag poles - six smaller poles for the service branches and the large one for the American flag - were snapped off by the wind. When the poles were blown over, they took part of a brick wall down too. Popo believes it will take $4-5,000 to replace the poles and repair the brickwork. Most of the loss may be covered by insurance, but Popo asked council members to consider carefully how to rebuild it before making an insurance claim.

Council member Jim Wright continues to be too ill to attend council meetings. Severance said Wright is expected to resign at the next council meeting. So far, regular council meeting attendee, Eric Scher, is the only one to show interest in filling Wright’s seat for the rest of the year.

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