The city of Benton is going to the dogs. Not literally, perhaps, but dogs roaming freely is becoming a nuisance, according to city leaders.
"We have an ordinance that (dogs) are supposed to be on leashes. I think we need to start enforcing that law," public health and safety commissioner Donald Storey said at Monday's meeting of the city council. "We're getting calls with people letting their dogs run loose. I talked to the chief (Police Chief Kyle Melvin) today, and he's all for it (enforcement)."
Storey said Franklin County animal control won't pick up stray dogs after 3 p.m. and before 7 a.m. As a result, the city has no control over what to do with the strays.
"We pay them big money to do that. I don't know what to do about the county," Storey said. He said he has discussed the issue with animal control personnel without satisfaction. The response from the animal control officer is they won't respond to a stray unless someone is bitten.
"We've had that and they still haven't come out," Storey responded.
"Let's not send them any money and see how quick they come to us," Commissioner Don Wyant said.
"We've heard this a lot. We need to bring this to a head," Mayor Fred Kondritz said. "We're just kicking the can down the road."
Storey suggested talking to one of the Franklin County Board members to resolve the issue.
Another issue brought before the council remains unresolved.
Doug Hager complained about truck drivers having no place to park their rigs, especially on weekends.
The city previously allowed trucks to park in one of its industrial parks, but that practice was discontinued when the truckers damaged asphalted lots.
"The city is not obligated to provide truck parking," Kondritz said, noting truckers could receive permission from private enterprises to park in their lots. "The city can't prevent you from parking certain places. We can't tell you not to park at the old Ranger car wash or in front of Newhouse's. That's illegal," Kondritz said.
"We would like to be good neighbors and allow you a place to park. We see 20 or so trucks parked at various places on weekends. It's becoming a situation where they don't need to be parked there," he added.
"I don't think we can find an area for the trucks to park," he concluded.
Finance Commissioner Dennis Miller requested a special meeting at 8:30 a.m. Friday to approve the purchase of a new shed to be constructed by high school students. A bid of $2,600 for building materials has been submitted, according to Miller.
The city also approved an amendment to the liquor code, allowing for nine class A licenses; approved a class E license to Bonzfire Grill; and approved a class A license for Good Time Charlie's. Commissioner Ronnie Baumgarte voted "no" on all three liquor issues.