By Crystal Burns
When Carolyn Shackleford addressed the Trenton Mayor and Board of Aldermen in December, she struck a chord with city leaders and fellow citizens.
Shackelford addressed nuisance behavior – pet owners who fail to pick up after their pets and drivers who park on the wrong side of the street. Shackelford, however, noted that both bad habits have dangerous consequences.
She provided Mayor Ricky Jackson with information regarding pet waste and water quality. The pamphlet came from the Town of Collierville Engineering Division and notes that the average dog produces nearly a pound of poop every day. Pet waste is the third largest contributor of bacterial pollution in urban watersheds. The bacteria and high levels of phosphorous are harmful to plants and grasses. Pet waste also has nutrients that promote algae growth in lakes and streams, which rob the water of dissolved oxygen that fish and other aquatic life need to survive.
The pamphlet states that pet waste left on streets, pavement, yards, driveways or trails does not magically disappear or fertilize the ground. Instead it is picked up by stormwater runoff and carried through storm drains to nearby water sources.
At the City Council’s Jan. 22 meeting, Jackson provided the ordinances dealing with pets and parking to board members. Alderman Bubba Abbott made a motion to begin addressing any violations of those ordinances with warnings, and the council voted unanimously for his motion.
Jackson called attention to the animal ordinance, which states, “No animal or fowl shall be kept in such a place or condition as to become a nuisance because of either noise, odor, contagious disease, or other reason. (1983 Code, 3-105),” saying failing to pick up after your pet could be the “other reason.”
Police Chief Bill Cusson provided additional guidelines for pet owners: A person in control of a dog or cat must promptly remove and dispose of, in a sanitary manner, feces left by their dog or cat, when walking outside of their own yard with their pet. Each person in control of the dog or cat must have materials to remove feces left by their dog or cat when they are off their own property. Those guidelines don’t apply if the person in control of the dog or cat is the owner of the property.
Tips for cleaning up after your pet include carrying disposable bags with you while you walk your pets, throwing your pet’s waste in the trash (wrap it carefully to avoid spillage during collection), flushing pet waste down the toilet (without the bag) where it will flow through the sanitary sewers for treatment, and burying waste in a hole that is at least 5-6” deep and covering it with soil away from gardens, ditches, storm drains and waterways.
Parking – Trenton also has a parking ordinance on the books. The general portion of the ordinance states, “…every vehicle parked upon a street within this city shall be so parked that its right wheels are approximately parallel to and within 18 inches of the right edge or curb of the street. On one-way streets where the city has not placed signs prohibiting the same, vehicles may be permitted to park on the left side of the street, and in such cases, the left wheels shall be required to be within 18 inches of the left edge or curb of the street.”
The Trenton Police Department will be giving verbal warnings to those in violation of the parking ordinance for the next 30 days. After that time, violators may be subject to a citation.
“We have had requests to look into this for some time now,” Jackson said. “I know this seems like minor stuff to most, but when you pull across the lane of incoming traffic to park, you are taking a chance on having a wreck. The same when you pull out to leave from your destination, you have to watch both ways to get back out on to your lane. You have responsibilities when you are a pet owner and one of them is picking up after your pets when you are walking them around town.”
Abbott said starting with warnings should help remind citizens to follow all city ordinances. He admitted that he had probably parked incorrectly when in a hurry or not paying attention.
“We just need to be more careful,” he said.
Off to a good start – Board members indicated that the new council, sworn in Jan. 8, is off to a good start. Alderman Tony Burriss said city leaders’ most recent work session bodes well for Trenton.
“If everybody knew how dedicated to this city these other five people on this board are, they’d be pleased,” he said. “I think the city is in good hands.”
City Recorder report – City Recorder Leigh Reynolds noted that the city has collected 46 percent of 2018 property taxes, which she said is good for this point in the year. The city has only collected 12.8 percent of city stickers, which Reynolds said is well below average. Pay property taxes and city stickers by Feb. 28 to avoid penalties.
The next City Council meeting will be held Tuesday, Feb. 12, 6 p.m. at City Hall.