Springdale Twp. residents complain about new animal ordinance, plumbing costs for new water meters
Springdale Township residents packed the municipal building Thursday night to question the commissioners about changes to its animal ordinance enacted last month.
The commissioners voted last month to amend its decades-old animal control ordinance to include fines and arrest procedures. Offenders will now be given a written warning upon the first offense, and any further violations could result in a $600 fine plus costs, or up to 30 days in jail.
Officials have said they made the changes to the ordinance because they received complaints about some nuisance animals in the township.
Resident Emily Miller, who owns chickens, received a written complaint and warning from the township code enforcement officer, but said her chickens weren’t out of line. She said it’s a matter of her neighbor just not liking them.
“It’s not affecting her at all,” she said. “Nobody else has ever complained to me.”
Miller also had concerns about the “one chicken per dwelling” part of the ordinance. She said chickens are flock animals that are typically sold in threes so they can protect each other.
“You don’t care about the well-being of my animals,” she said.
After concerns were brought up about the number of chickens allowed, commissioners said they would consider changing that part of the ordinance.
Commissioners Chairman Anthony Rozzano said the board isn’t out to pick on anyone and will only follow up on complaints made to the township.
“We don’t care if someone has one chicken or 10 chickens,” he said.
Resident Jimmy Puorro said he feels singled out by the township for having chickens. He said he’s gotten complaints about the noise they make, but says it’s unfounded.
“I can’t (even) hear that rooster inside my house,” he said.
Amy Kuhns was concerned about how an ordinance like this would be handled if it turned into a neighbor dispute instead of legitimate complaints.
“How do you think this is going to help our community to have any ordinance like this?” Kuhns said.
Rozzano said once an issue escalates to a neighbor dispute, the township is no longer involved. Those issues would have to be resolved in civil court.
Residents chafe at water meter installation costs
Residents also took issue with the township’s decision to require residents to pay to have new water meters installed.
The township is buying new water meters to replace 150 that aren’t working. Its goal is to replace them all in the next few years.
While the township is covering the cost of the meters, it is requiring residents to hire a plumber to install them so the township isn’t liable if a pipe breaks during the installation.
“We don’t do plumbing,” Rozzano said.
Rozzano estimated the installation cost for residents would be around $80.
Resident Ed Mavrinac said there are people who live in the township who barely have enough money to live on, let alone pay to install a water meter.
“If you want to give me a new meter and whatever else that’s OK,” he said. “I shouldn’t have to pay a dime for that.”
Debra Merola said she hasn’t had a good water pressure since repairs were made to a nearby pump station in June and she’s unhappy that she’s going to have to pay to have the water meter replaced while there’s no water pressure.
Merola said she’s reached out to officials, but hasn’t ever gotten a response.
“Since that night, I cannot take a shower in my house and get the soap rinsed out of my hair,” she said. “Now we’re going to have to go out and get a plumber and we’re going to pay for everything for your meters and I still have no water pressure.”
Commissioner Tim Sweet, who oversees the water department, said he would have someone out to check the water pressure issue this week.
“I did not know that you still did not have water pressure, which I will look into,” Sweet said.
Sweet said there was a misconception among some residents that they would be required to place their whole waterline, but that’s not the case. He said it’s only the meter, itself, that needs to be switched.
Rozzano said it will likely take about four years to get all of the meters replaced, but it’s needed because many are past the 18 to 20 year usable life and it is only a matter of time before more stop working.