02/02/10 — Rec Center up for bid, dog poop a problem

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Rec Center up for bid, dog poop a problem

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on February 2, 2010 1:46 PM

Members of the Goldsboro City Council made swift work of their agenda Monday evening, but several items were covered during their pre-meeting work session that caused a stir inside City Hall.

The board agreed to put the proposed Recreation Center out for bid -- a move that will see the potential reconstruction voted on sometime in March.

And council members talked about which streets should be resurfaced in 2010.

But their longest conversation of the night focused on dog waste.

It started when City Attorney Jim Womble began talking about the potential for an anti-tethering ordinance -- one that might prohibit Goldsboro residents from leaving dogs unattended and restrained by tether while outdoors.

But then, former police Chief Jackie Warrick chimed in.

"The first thing I want to say, I didn't have anything to do with the tethering," he said. "I wanted to do a poop ordinance.

"Some people from my district approached me about a defecation ordinance, about (people) from other neighborhoods walking in their neighborhood and the dogs going to the bathrooms in the yards. ... The people who are calling me are upset."

"I don't think I blame them," Mayor Al King replied.

"But how do you control it if you don't see it?" the Rev. Charles Williams asked.

"You can't," Mayor Pro Tem Chuck Allen then said.

Currently, there is no ordinance preventing dog owners from allowing their pets to go to the bathroom in someone else's yard.

But after a lengthy discussion -- one that included its share of laughter from council members and city staff alike -- that might change.

"So, you want to see something at the next meeting?" City Manager Joe Huffman asked.

"Whatever we can do, I think we need to do it," King replied.

Police Chief Tim Bell interjected, explaining to the council that a tethering ordinance -- the reason the discussion began in the first place -- would keep local residents and law enforcement officers more safe.

But Warrick was still focused on animal waste.

"Timmy, what's your recommendation on the feces?" he said to Bell.

"Prohibit it," Huffman replied.

So at the next council meeting, residents can expect some kind of action on the matter, as Womble agreed to come up with an ordinance that covers both tethering and defecation.

Another lengthy discussion was also had Monday -- one that focused on which city streets to resurface this year, and how best to prioritize them.

City Engineer Marty Anderson said there is roughly $525,000 available, but that lists from each council member regarding streets in their districts that need work ran the price tag beyond $900,000.

"Something's got to give doesn't it?" King asked.

"It seems like all we can do is take $525,000 and divide it by six, if we're going to do it that way," Allen replied. "Or we can just have the staff pick the worst streets."

"No. I think we need to look at the worst streets. I don't care where they are. They are in Goldsboro," King said. "I don't care what district they're in. ... I'm concerned about all of the city of Goldsboro. I'm not zeroing in on any district. I would like to see the worst ... streets resurfaced."

Anderson said with the money budgeted for resurfacing, there is no way to keep up with the deteriorating conditions on city streets, that in order to "keep on a typical 15-year cycle," the city would have to budget $1.7 million each year for such work.

"Whoa," King said.

"In all fairness though, that's never happened and it probably never will happen," Allen replied. "That's a pie in the sky kind of thing."