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by Paul Leakan
(June 26)Some Clarksburg residents say figuring out how the city's new laws are supposed to be enforced have left them in the dark, especially when it comes to the city's new trash and animal waste disposal ordinances.
Such was the case with Terry Shreves, a resident of 320 Clay St., outside of downtown Clarksburg.
Bags of rubbish sat stacked up on the lawn at a nearby house on Clay Street for days, he said. Shreves knew the city set up an ordinance to keep that type of mess from happening.
The trash ordinance, which went into effect on January 17, makes it illegal for Clarksburg residents to place their garbage outside prior to the pickup day without sealing it in a metal or plastic container.
Yet the trash sat for several days. And Shreves was sick of looking at it. So he called city officials to ask them to remove the garbage, and he asked them to enforce the city's trash code.
But he discovered that complaints mean little if they're not directed to the right city department.
"The runaround I was getting was: Who enforces the law?" Shreves said.
Shreves thought he should call the city's engineering department. The engineering department is responsible for enforcing code violations. If the violation continues to exist, the engineering department can report it to the police department.
However, in this case, the city's Department of Public Works should be contacted first, according to City Engineer George Duffer.
"We can enforce it, but they take care of the initial trash complaints (that aren't on the curb)," Duffer said.
After Shreves contacted Public Works Director Frank Scarcelli, the trash was cleared away. The whole process took about a week, and Shreves was pleased with the city's work.
However, he still wants the city to make the process more clear.
"Really, there's just not a whole lot of information out there about it," he said. "It's difficult to know who to call on with what problem. If I weren't adamant about it, I don't know how long it would take."
And the garbage ordinance isn't the only issue that some find confusing. Some people also want to know who enforces the city's animal waste ordinance, Shreves said.
The animal waste disposal ordinance, in effect since May, requires any owner or person in charge of an animal on any public or private property other than their own to carry a wooden, plastic or metal device with them to dispose of their animal's feces.
Anyone looking for enforcement of the measure should call the Clarksburg Police Department, according to City Attorney John Farmer.
Though the city wants to ensure people are directed to the right department, it feels it already provides the public with many avenues to do so.
"We've tried to make it easier for citizens to look us up," said Clarksburg Personnel Director Patrick Comiskey. "In general, I think we have a pretty good breakdown of how to contact people in the city."
The city's telephone numbers can be located in the local government blue pages in the phone book. In addition, Comiskey said the city distributes laminated cards, complete with departmental contact numbers and responsibilities, to each of its departments.
The city also has a site on the world wide web, located at www.clarksburg.com, which provides information on how to contact each of the city's departments.
Still, even some veterans of contacting the city for help think the process can be difficult.
Elaine Lucente, who organized an effort to remove 42 tons of garbage, 25 tons of metal and nearly 700 tires from Elk Creek last year, knows all about working with city officials. In fact, her experience has led some to call her for information on how to contact the city, she said.
But she said doesn't have all the answers.
"Even though I have been actively involved with the city, as a regular resident, I'm as much in the dark as everyone else," she said.
City Manager Percy Ashcraft: 624-1677
City Attorney John Farmer: 624-1690
City Clerk Annette Wright: 624-1673
Clarksburg Police Department:
Chief Raymond Mazza: 624-1614
Roy Mace, animal control: 623-6559
Police, non-emergency: 624-1610
Police crime line: 624-1625
Parking tickets: 624-1649
City Engineer George Duffer: 624-1633
Superintendents Frank Scarcelli and Anthony Bellotte: 624-1611 or 1612.
Finance Director Frank Ferrari: 624-1650
Fire fees: 624-1635
Business licenses and taxes: 624-1630
USA Waste Services: 842-7010
Damage and/or accident claims: 624-1620
Parks and Recreation: 624-1655