Council will ask dog owners to please dispose of pooch?s poo

The Hillsboro City Coun?cil decided at its Sept. 3 meeting to go with persuasion rather than legislation when it comes to inconsiderate behavior of local dog owners.
The council was responding to a letter from a constituent asking the council to pass an ordinance that would require dog owners to pick up, and dispose of properly, the poop deposited by their pooches on private and public property.
While council members where sympathetic toward the complaint, and reviewed a similar ordinance on the books in Ellsworth, they ultimately concluded that such an ordinance would be ?all but unenforceable.?
City Administrator Larry Paine said to enforce the policy, police officers would be required to write citations to the dog owners. Even if officers could identify the dog owner, Paine said the city has more substantive issues to pursue.
Councilor Bob Watson agreed: ?We have rules now that we don?t enforce. I can?t imagine spending time dealing with this kind of thing.?
Mayor Delores Dalke said that a dispenser with plastic sacks to pick dog droppings, recently installed in Memorial Park, seems to be reducing the problem there.
?At least it reminds dog owners to clean it up,? Dalke said.
The council discussed ways to draw public attention to the issue, including regular written reminders on the city bills mailed to patrons and posting a message on the city?s Facebook page.
Photo tour
Led by Paine, the council viewed a PowerPoint tour of 35 local residences allegedly in violation of city codes.
The list of the residences had been submitted by a resident who complained at the Aug. 5 council meeting that he was being singled out for alleged violations at his residence while the city ignored other violators.
Of the 35 residences, 13 were found not to be in violation of any codes, and the others had relatively minor violations. Most of the violations involved vehicles that had unexpired tags or were parked in an inappropriate place on the property.
Paine concluded the tour with photos depicting some of the issues that prompted the city to take action against the resident in question.
Damage update
In his personal report, Paine updated the council about the damage done to the city?s small water tower during a recent storm.
Paine reminded the council that the city had earlier been approved for a grant to repair the tower, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Paine said the city had been two weeks away from bid-opening on that project when the storm hit.
He said damage was estimated at $60,000. A contractor has been found who has experience repairing old water towers.
Paine said most of the cost to get the tower back on line could be covered by a Community Development Block Grant, Rural Development funds and a Kansas Department of Health and Environment loan.
Paine said the city?s property insurance will help cover the cost of the damage to the tower, and its liability insurance will cover the damage done to a nearby storage building owned by The Lumberyard when the roof of the water tower fell on it.
Paine said the incident created no health risks to the city?s water system, according to KDHE.
Other business
In other business, the council:
? approved the two-year renewal of a liquor license for R&D Liquor.
? approved an ordinance authorizing the city?s recreation commission to change its regular meeting time from Sunday afternoon to the second Monday of each month at noon.

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