Hope town officials want to crack down on the the glut of ugly signs tacked to poles around the community and are looking for a penalty for those violating the rules.
Last month, the council finalized an ordinance limiting the length of time that garage and yard sale signs could stay up after the sale ended. Violators will be fined $25 a day until their signs are removed.
New Councilman Ed Johnson suggested at that meeting the town should look into ways to regulate other rogue signage, specifically the internet service signs that have gone up around town with many tacked up on individual poles.
At Tuesday's council meeting, Town Manager J.T. Doane presented a new ordinance for advertising signs, requiring that anyone wanting to post such a sign should pay a $25 fee to allow them to post the signs for a month. The approval could then be renewed for $25 a month later.
Johnson and other council members suggested that the new ordinance lacked a punishment for those breaking the law. Many advertisers would gladly pay $25 for the privilege of posting the unsightly signs. He suggested a further $25 a day penalty.
Doane agreed that the fines should be added and the council tabled the ordinance until next month's meeting.
In other business, the Hope Town Council:
Considered new fees for animal control services in town. People who voluntarily give up a pet would pay a $60 fee. Doane said the town is being charged $48 an animal by the humane society for taking in unwanted pets. There would also be a $30 fee for handling unwanted wild animals.
Animal Control Officer Lisa Hughes said she has been paying the costs herself. For example, after getting sprayed by a skunk she had to throw away her clothing and pay to clean the animal control vehicle. In one month last year, she took away 22 skunks in the town. She said wildlife management organizations would charge $200 for the same service.
Marshal Matt Tallent said that before Hughes the town would simply not take calls to handle wild animals.
Councilwoman Nellie Meek said she was concerned that people would not be able to pay the fee to remove a wild animal and instead of dealing with the problem, someone could get hurt.
The council decided to table the discussion.
The council received a grant from the Indiana Public Employees Plan to purchase a trench-shoring box for the Hope Utilities department. IPEP is the public employees workman's compensation fund and is providing inaugural grants to help buy safety equipment for public employees in the hope of reducing claims. Jake Miller, representing the fund, presented the check to Utilities Manager David Clouse.
Agreed to accept a bid of $5,400 from Randy Paetzel to purchase the town-owned property at 154 Elm St. Doane said that Paetzel plans to build a home on the lot. The town took over the lot and demolished the derelict structure on the property last year and has since been trying to sell the property to recoup its costs. Original bids came in too low and the town began seeking more interested buyers. The only other bidder was a neighbor, Scott Dyer, who offered $5,300 for the land to build a garage on the property. Doane suggested to the council that a new home would be a better use of the property, allowing for more tax revenue and the chance for a new family to move to town.