Council Tables Park Rules

BLYTHEWOOD (Feb. 9, 2017) – Following the lead of the evening’s first ordinance, Town Council during their Jan. 30 meeting also postponed first reading on new regulations on uses of the Manor and Doko Meadows Park. Earlier in the evening, Council had postponed a similar vote on an ordinance regulating mobile vendors (see our Feb. 2 edition).

Mayor J. Michael Ross noted that some of the prohibitions in the ordinance should be re-worded to allow for exceptions; specifically, the ban on pedaling on park grounds.

“Certainly someone would have to come in and get a permit for that,” Ross said. “It brings up such things as the farmers market and Big Grab, and we would not want that to mean it was excluding them.”

Reading from the ordinance’s playground rules, Ross joked, “you can’t have horseplay, pushing or running or shoving. It looks like you’re not going to have a lot of fun in our park.”

Councilman Larry Griffin, pointing out the prohibition against fires, grilling and open flames, asked about a designated area for grilling. Mayor Ross answered that Council had discussed designating a grill-friendly zone, but had not finalized a specific area for cooking out. Such areas would likely require picnic tables, and Jim Meggs, the Town’s attorney, noted that picnic tables had also not yet been purchased for and placed in the park. The addition of picnic tables, Meggs said, would ultimately add to the cost of upkeep in the park. A picnic and grilling area, he said, generates trash, which would mean adding trash cans as well as receptacles for the disposal of ash and used charcoal and the Town would have to hire someone to police the grounds and empty the bins.

“We might need to change the name from ‘park’ to something else,” Griffin said. “You just took everything out of a ‘park.’ You can’t build fires, you can’t have picnic tables.”

Meggs offered to prepare for Council’s Feb. 27 meeting another draft of the ordinance that included the changes in the language that would allow for certain exceptions. Council voted unanimously to postpone first reading until the next meeting.

Audit Report

Gary Bailey, of Love Bailey Associates, told Council that his firm had issued an “unqualified opinion” on the Town’s fiscal year 2015-2016 audit.

“It is a clean opinion,” Love said. “We had no issues.”

Bailey said the Town’s net position grew by $560,000 from the previous year to $6.2 million in “government activities.” The Town’s balance sheet, he said, grew by $160,000.

The Town’s income, he said, increased $558,000, compared to an increase of $258,000 in the last fiscal year. Part of that growth, Love said, was from construction fees, which grew by approximately $200,000 to $419,000 over last year’s $217,000.

“That certainly helped your bottom line,” Love said.


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