Council hopes to address dog issue for last time

by Paul Leakan


(May 21) -- To scoop or not to scoop. That dilemma probably never crossed Shakespeare's mind.

Clarksburg City Council, however, has been discussing the best way to enforce the disposal of animal feces on public and certain private property for months.

Council members hope their latest proposal can end discussions about the matter, so that they can focus on the rest of their agenda during tonight's 7:30 meeting at the Clarksburg Municipal Building.

"We've discussed this for several months now," said Clarksburg City Manager Percy Ashcraft. "Hopefully, we can end all discussions about this resolution."

Any owner or person in charge of an animal on any public or private property other than their own must carry a wooden, plastic or metal device with them to dispose of the animal's feces, according to the latest ordinance. They must also have a bag or other suitable container on hand to dispose of the waste properly.

The ordinance would not apply to legally blind people who are the owner, custodian or keeper of a guide or support dog. But, anyone else who fails to comply would face a fine not to exceed $500, said Clarksburg City Attorney John Farmer.

While Ashcraft wants the ordinance to be finalized, he said there are other issues on tonight's agenda that are equally important.

Also topping the list is a proposed annexation of 15 acres of land located outside the southwest city limits of Clarksburg. The land, owned by developer Don Harold of Joyce Properties, could draw business interest if the annex is allowed, Ashcraft said.

"We're really excited about this,' Ashcraft said. "If it's a prospective business cite, more businesses could come to the area."

Aside from topics on the agenda, council members may discuss the results of the city manager's report, highlighted by the Harrison County Chamber of Commerce's recent survey.

The survey found that nearly 25 percent of prospective members felt downtown Clarksburg's deterioration and parking woes were reasons not to join the chamber.

Mary Beth Aman, administrative director of the chamber, said that people are very visual in their perception of how the city is being taken care of. And, she said, since it can look like nothing is being done to improve the appearance of downtown, many people are discouraged about joining the chamber.

"If you went downtown to a city and saw they weren't taking care of it, would you want to invest in it?," Aman said.

There are many things, however, the city does for the betterment of the city that aren't easily seen, Aman added.

Bob Caplan, executive director of the chamber, said he hasn't seen the latest results of the survey. Expecting to discuss it tonight, he said some of the results aren't exactly new.

"For probably 80 years, parking has been a problem in Clarksburg," Caplan said. "So, I certainly do see that as a major drawback."