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Mount Carmel residents who leave lawn clippings in street may soon end up in court

Jeff Bobo • Oct 4, 2018 at 5:30 PM

MOUNT CARMEL — Although the city isn’t necessarily interested in convictions, Mount Carmel residents may soon be cited into court for littering if they don’t clean their lawn clippings off the street.

Last week the Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted 7-0 in favor of the first reading of an ordinance adding grass clippings to the list of prohibited litter by amending that section of the streets and sidewalks ordinance.

Mayor Chris Jones said, “I’ve had several citizens and motorcycle riders who have come to me and stressed the importance of people cleaning their grass clippings up off the streets because there’s been several motorcycle accidents around the country, around this area, where people’s motorcycles slide out from under them because people don’t clean their grass clippings up. It’s a health/safety matter.”

Vice Mayor Carl Wolfe asked how the town could enforce an ordinance on grass clippings on the street if a police officer doesn’t see a person actually mowing their yard and causing that to happen.

“If you go by an hour later and there’s grass clippings in the street, who are you going to charge, or how are you going to work that, if you don’t actually see somebody?” Wolfe asked.

City Manager Mike Housewright said the goal of the ordinance change is to “alter behavior,” as opposed to citations and convictions. He said warnings would precede any issuance of citations.

“If there are excessive amounts to where we have to pull (a city employee) out to blow it out, then we can issue a citation,” Housewright said. “They may challenge it, and if they do, they may win. They may not. But the next time around, they’ll take the 30 seconds needed to push it out of the road rather than spending their Wednesday afternoon challenging a citation of that nature. Getting convictions not as much the goal here as changing the behavior.”

Approval of the second and final reading of the ordinance will be considered at the BMA’s Oct. 25 meeting.

Mount Carmel’s 2018-19 paving

The BMA approved a low bid of $181,309 from Pave-Well Paving Co. of Blountville to pave Carters Valley Road; portions of Lloyds Chapel Road and McCracken Lane; and the intersection of Belmont Avenue and Main Street at Highway 11-W.

W-L Construction and Paving of Bristol, Va., was the only other bidder at $278,903. The projects were budgeted at $217,000 in the 2018-19 city budget.

Police car video surveillance cameras

The BMA voted 7-0 to advertise for bids for video cameras for all six patrol cars.

City Manager Mike Housewright said he received a quote or $19,157 to outfit all six patrol cars with vehicle cameras and officer body cameras.

Marked police cars

Police Chief Grady White told the BMA the person who previously installed decals on city police cars used substandard materials that came off when it got hot, so he had all decals removed.

The BMA approved Jones’ motion to have Housewright seek a cost estimate per car for having the police cars and SUVs marked professionally, including the cost option for reflective decals, as well as a separate cost of placing “In God We Trust” on the back bumpers.

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