Chatham has ‘poop scoop’ almost in the bag

CHATHAM—The Village Board is one step closer to creating a “poop scoop” law.
     At a public hearing Thursday, March 26, trustees discussed the wording of the law. The sticking point concerns whether the measure should require dog owners walking their pets in the village to remove their pets’ waste rather than allow owners to dispose of it in village garbage cans.
     Trustee Paul Chapman said he didn’t want the village public works department employees having to deal with waste. But also said he and DPW workers would rather have the waste in public garbage cans than on the lawns of public spaces, where crews can hit it while mowing the grass.
     Trustees Patrick Wemitt and Lael Locke offered suggestions for new wording in proposed law that would require dog owners must pick up the waste and dispose of it in a “secure and sanitary way.” Ms. Locke felt the purpose of the law was to clean up the streets, not to force people to take their waste out of the village with them. If the village created a law, she said “you would like to make it easier to follow.”
     Parry Teasdale, a Chatham resident and publisher and editor of this paper, said that requiring dog owners to take their dogs’ waste away with them would discourage people away from visiting the village. “It’s not unfriendly to say: ‘Clean up after your dog’; but it is [if you don’t] offer them some place to put it,” he said.
     Mr. Teasdale, who supports the requirement that people clean up after their dogs, urged the board to delay consideration of the added requirement for carrying away the waste until village workers determine that dog waste in public receptacles actually creates a problem.
     Mayor Paul Boehme suggested making sure all village garbage cans are lined with plastic bags, making it easier for workings to remove the waste. Some of the cans already are lines with plastic bags.
     After more than half an hour of discussion, the board decided to table the proposal in order to consider revisions. Board members said they hope to adopt a dog waste cleanup law at the next village meeting, scheduled for April 9.
     At the board’s regular meeting, which followed the dog waste law hearing, the mayor reported on the ongoing storm sewer and road upgrade project, which has resumed  with the arrival of warmer weather. As crews working for the state dig up Route 295 from the intersection with Route 66 north toward the Chatham town line, the village will take advantage of the excavation to replace an aging water main along the same route. “We got to bring this village into the 21st century,” he said. The water line was installed in 1928 and has deteriorated, reducing the available water pressure, a danger in case of a fire. Mayor Boehme said the new pipe should last 100 years.  
     The work, which will be paid for by money the village already put aside for repair projects, will start next week. It will cost about $500,000. The Mayor says the state will pay for repaving the highway, which will help reduce the cost born by the village.
     The April 9 village meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Tracy Memorial.


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