Joint Services panel reviews need for animal control ordinances

City Commissioner Sundai Stevenson (from left), City Manager Sammy Rich and County Commissioner Allison Watters discuss proposed animal control ordinances during a meeting of the Rome-Floyd County Joint Services Committee on Tuesday, June 1, 2021.

Rome City Commissioners will consider amendments to the city parking and animal control ordinances Monday night.

The commission is also expected to approve wastewater pretreatment surcharges for local industry during the 6:30 p.m. public session in City Hall, 601 Broad St.

The parking provisions are slated for final approval on second reading. They are aimed at clarifying language with respect to the appeal of tickets.

The amendments state that if a ticket is issued by the downtown parking enforcement personnel, any appeals must be made through the Downtown Development Authority office.

Tickets issued by Rome police can be appealed only to the Municipal Court. The proposed change also calls for any fines assessed by the Municipal Court to double if not paid within five days of the final determination.

Animal control amendments are up for a first reading with final action not slated until the June 28 meeting.

The proposed changes include specific definitions for the terms “adequate shelter,” “unsanitary conditions” and “vicious animal.”

Another change would let Animal Control authorities petition the court system to require that people whose animals were impounded for violations bear the cost of their care until the case is resolved.

A section is also being added that prohibits animals from being tethered or chained outside, except under certain circumstances while being attended to by their owners. That change is designed to keep animals from be left out unsheltered on a nearly 24-7 basis, a practice often done when they’re being used as guard dogs.

New wastewater surcharge proposals were sent up from the Water and Sewer Committee.

Water Reclamation Plant Director Johnny Massingill said the law mandates that the city charge industrial customers the actual cost of pretreating their waste. While the increase could amount to thousands of dollars, he said it is still much cheaper than a company having to construct its own treatment facility.

Water and Sewer Department personnel have been communicating with companies that will be impacted so the new charges are not expected to come as a surprise when they go into effect July 1.

Those charges will be explained in detail to commissioners during their 5 p.m. caucus session which, like the regular meeting, is open to the public.

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