Metropolis residents who let their pets defecate in city-owned parks and ball fields and do not discard the animal waste may soon face a $50 fine after Metropolis' City Council voted Monday night to adopt an ordinance prohibiting dogs and other animals upon or within playground areas and playing fields within city parks.
Metropolis Corporate Counsel Rick Abell explained this particular ordinance was brought before the council about five years ago and was never approved.
For a non-court appearance the ticket cost will be $50, if it is paid within 14 days, according to Abell. If it is paid between 14 and 30 days after the citation, the cost is $75. If the pet owner receives a notice to appear -- a court appearance is required -- the fine is between $75 and $750, plus court costs.
Mayor Billy McDaniel said at the city's ballfields, the problem has become bad. He said while most people are considerate; there are others who let their dogs defecate on the playing field. "It's like a big giant litter box," he said. McDaniel said the current city ordinance requires pet owners to pick up after their pets. He said if pet owners are out, they should carry a plastic bag with them and said the city does not mind if pet owners put the plastic bag of animal waste into the city's trash cans. He said the city wants pet owners to be responsible.
Abell said if a person is seen letting their pet defecate in the playground area or city ballpark without picking up and disposing of the waste, a complaint could be made either with the local police department or with the city's animal control officer.
Another ordinance brought to the council Monday night involved a speed limit reduction along East 15th Street from Metropolis to Catherine Streets, near the baseball field where children play. Abell said the city installed speed bumps on the street, but there are some drivers who still drive too fast. In addition to that, often times there are children running back and forth from the ball field to the parking lot. "We want to make it safe," said Abell.
A motion was made and approved creating the 15 mile per hour speed limit.
Abell told the council there will be a newly elected officials conference on Friday, June 28 in Mt. Vernon, and the city will pay for any council members who want to attend the conference.
He also told the council recently the first language of Senate Bill 7, the cannabis bill, was released.
Abell said it is a lengthy bill but gave council members a summary of the bill written by Ancel Glink of Diamond, Bush, DiCianni and Krafthefer. He said anyone may visit www.ilga.gov and type the keyword cannabis and click on the second entry: Amendment 1, Senate Bill 7.
Abell also updated the council on the nationwide opioid lawsuit the City of Metropolis joined about a year ago. Abell said the City of Metropolis has participated in discovery and the suit is still in progress. "It's not dead, it's still on-going," said Abell, who said there has been one settlement in Oklahoma.
In other business the council:
• Approved a road closure on Thursday, June 20 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. from East Fifth to East Third Streets and the use of Lincoln Park for the purpose of a block party hosted by Hope Unlimited Family Care Center.
• Approved a road closure on Friday, May 24 from the north side of West Sixth Street on Market Street to the south side of West Seventh Street from 5-8 p.m. for the purpose of an event provided by Sissy's -- a Sweet Shop, featuring Metropolis singer and songwriter Corey Evitts.
• Gave consent for the City of Metropolis to seek bids for two lots located at 406 W. 10th St. McDaniel said one person has expressed interest in the lots.
• Approved a motion to accept the purchase of two thrust ball bearings from Vandevanter Engineering in the amount of $2,300 and to hire ACIX Inc. for the installation at the wastewater treatment plant in the amount of $11,300.
• Approved a motion to accept professional services agreement with PDC Laboratories for drinking water testing for the monitoring period of July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020.
• Approved a motion to pay application number 10 in the amount of $29,021.67 for the water treatment plant improvements.
• Approved a motion to authorize the purchase of a new 120,000 BTU heat and five ton air unit from local contract John Wells, for Happy Hearts Senior Center in the amount of $6400, including labor to install it.
• Gave authorization for the city to seek proposals for the professional design and construction management of the swimming pool gutter replacement of the swimming pool rehabilitation and improvement project under the professional service selection act.
• And, held a closed session to discuss an update on current contract negotiations.