Vandals and unleashed dogs are creating problems for the City of Fleming- Neon. At its October meeting, the Fleming-Neon City Council discussed remedies which will most likely result in citations issued to vandals and to people who continue to ignore the city’s animal control laws.
City Foreman Jake Johnson told the council that although Fleming- Neon residents have done a good deal better with bagging garbage and tying bags, vandals have recently damaged the children’s playground at the City Park and left it strewn with garbage. Johnson said the park gets heavy use from children and their parents and urged those who have wantonly damaged it to stop.
“Do not tear it up,” said Johnson. “Treat it with respect. The city government put it up for the people.”
Several council members offered suggestions on keeping vandals out of the park with most favoring closing the park at dusk and posting notices that violators will be cited for trespassing. Councilman James D. Collins suggested installing a higher fence but Johnson said the layout of the park would make it very difficult to limit access completely. He said the park received most of the damage during the recent Neon Days Festival.
“It would have to be high enough so they can’t climb over it,” said Johnson. “They can get over it if they really want to.”
Police Chief Mike Dingus told the council the first thing it should do is to post signs with park rules including opening and closing times. He said that after the public is informed as to the rules, then citations can be issued for criminal trespass to those misusing the park. Dingus agreed that the worst of the vandalism happened during Neon Days.
“It’s not kids doing this,” said Dingus. “It’s teen-agers and young adults causing the damage. Closing it (at dusk) is the best answer.”
Johnson agreed, adding that weekends and late night and early morning hours are the most common times for vandalism. He also said that the vandals leave a great deal of trash behind wherever they go.
Council member Cheryl Furby brought up the dog situation during the Police Report, telling Dingus that she had witnessed three unleashed dogs chasing two little girls on bicycles over the weekend. Furby said the girls were frightened and crying but the dogs’ owner was indifferent and expressed no desire to cooperate with city leash laws. Furby said the dogs surrounded the little girls and the children were terrifi ed, but she said when she confronted the dogs’ owner she received little indication of cooperation.
“I told the owner there is a leash law,” said Furby. “But she didn’t seem interested in the law.”
“We’ll see how interested they are when I cite them,” said Chief Dingus.
Dingus said he is aware of who owns the dogs and said they have been warned already. He told the council that he calls the county dog warden whenever he gets a complaint or sees unleashed dogs in city limits. However, he added that the dogs usually don’t stay in the same place and while the dog warden will pick them up if he can find them, the dogs often leave before the dog warden gets there.
The council, city police officers, and other city employees all donned pink T-shirts for the meeting to demonstrate their support for breast cancer awareness and for efforts to find a cure for the disease. Chief Dingus said he had gotten the idea from the Elkhorn City Police Department, which is also wearing pink for breast cancer awareness. Dingus said he liked the idea and Mayor Susie Polis and others had volunteered to wear pink to show support as well. Polis jokingly said she liked the pink shirts so much she might look into pink uniforms for the police department.
In the Police Report, Dingus told the council that things have been quiet and said the department worked two accidents in September. He added that Crime Prevention Packets have been made available to the city and he is giving them to business owners and citizens who wish to receive them.
In other business, the council voted to raise the dumping fee for using a city Dumpster that is made available to citizens and businesses doing renovation or demolition work for which they are billed each time it is dumped. Jake Johnson told the council that dumping fees for the Dumpster, which is kept at the water plant when it is not in use, have gone up to the point that the current fee of $41 per dump is no longer sufficient to pay the fee at the landfill. Johnson said it now costs $45.96 per dump at the landfill and suggested raising the fee to $50 per dump to cover the increased fee as well as higher fuel costs and the time to take it to the landfill. He said the city will break even at $50 per dump. The Dumpster is currently in use and the new fee will not be implemented until after the current user returns it.
Water losses were reported at 34 percent but the Utilities Report was tabled in the absence of Water Superintendent Carlos Phillips. The council voted to hold Halloween on October
31 with Trick or Treat hours running from 6 until 8 p.m. with a Safe Night Celebration held at the City Stage area. Councilman Tom Haynes told the council that while the Kids Day Celebration went well, it had been held on a cold, wet day and suggested setting an alternate date for bad weather next year.
The council also opened bids for three surplus vehicles. Larry Vanover submitted the high bid of $511 for a 1998 Ford Ranger and Sam Stewart had the high bid for a 1992 Ford Explorer ($210) and a 2001 Dodge 4X4 pickup truck ($410).