In response to the complaints of several Newcomerstown residents over the past several months, Newcomerstown council has approved an animal nuisance ordinance.

Ordinance 15-2018 was prompted due to a notable issue with an over-population of stray, feral cats being maintained by various residents in the village. The animals reportedly are straying onto nearby properties, causing damage, unsanitary conditions and offensive odors.

The ordinance states that no person shall keep or harbor any animal, or fowl, within the village so as to create noxious, offensive odors, or unsanitary conditions which pose danger to the health, well being, or safety of other persons, or contribute to damage of property. The ordinance adds that no person shall intentionally or recklessly provide food to any wild or feral animal that facilitates creation of the conditions leading to health sanitation issues, endangering the safety of others, and/ or causing damage of real or personal property of others. The ordinance clarifies that the word "food" does not include: plants shrubs, trees, flowers, grass, fruits, grains, vegetables, mulch, bird feeders, or any other food that would be authorized by the village, health department, or law enforcement (such as for wildlife areas).

The ordinance states that any persons violating the ordinance shall be issued a notice, and given five days to resolve the violation. If they do not comply with the correction, the individual will be found guilty of a third degree misdemeanor, and subject to penalty. The ordinance was given three readings, and was approved on Oct. 1.

Council also wants to educate the community on the process for reporting complaints concerning any animal nuisances. Individuals must submit the proper form (available to download on the Tuscarawas County Health Department website). A copy of the form will also be available at the City Hall office. The form must be completed, and returned to the Tuscarawas County Health Department. Individuals need to be aware that they cannot over-ride the form, and just call, or go to City Hall, or the Health Department to verbalize the complaint in person, they must follow the correct progress, and complete the required form, as officials will not respond to a verbal complaint.

Other business:

• Newton Paving will be repairing two large holes located at State and Beaver Street, starting the week of October 8.

• Council discussed the need to add security cameras at the recycle bin area due to an increasing amount of refuse (including old tires, mattresses, sofas, other non-recyclable items). Once cameras are placed, officials will have the ability to identify the person(s), along with vehicle make/ model, and license plate, that are noted to be disposing of the items that are not appropriate for the recycle program. Once identified, officials will then begin the process to prosecute the individual(s).

• The village is planning a ribbon cutting ceremony for the solar panel project on October 26, at 11 a.m. The ceremony will take place at the water treatment plant, located east of town, on Stark Patent Road (off of East State Road).

• First reading was given to ordinance 16-2018, concerning amending the insurance policy for Newcomerstown personnel.

• Ordinance 18-2018 was approved concerning increase in hourly wages for hourly workers.

• Ordinance 19-2018 was approved concerning Appalachian Regional Commission program application.

• Ordinance 20-2018 was approved concerning permits, fees for electric-power right-of-way program.

The next regular session is scheduled for Oct. 15.