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Lincoln council passes ordinances to help 'protect residents'

| Thursday, July 24, 2014, 12:36 a.m.

Lincoln officials are calling a pair of recently adopted ordinances, and one currently advertised, proactive and not reactive.

Council unanimously approved laws regarding business licenses and feral and stray cats and plans to adopt an ordinance about dangerous dogs next month.

“They're basically ordinances we're putting in place to protect the residents in the borough,” councilwoman Tammy Firda said.

According to the business ordinance, a license may be suspended or revoked by council as a result of false or misleading information on documents filed by or on behalf of the taxpayer or business owner, or if the taxpayer or business owner/operator fails to pay any license or permit fee, earned income or real estate taxes.

“We do have a lot of vacant land and space for different types of business to come to Lincoln,” Firda said. “We would rather have them comply with all the rules from the beginning, and those (businesses) here to be in compliance.”

Businesses not in compliance with the ordinance can be fined up to $1,000 per day, and incarceration penalties can occur if a business owner continues to work without a license. A business can be padlocked, as well.

The ordinance was advertised in June.

“We don't want one business to operate outside of the law while all the other businesses are operating correctly,” council president Mark Betzner said last month. “That's not fair to the folks operating legitimate businesses. One (bad) apple spoils the whole batch.”

The business owner will have an opportunity to plead his or her case to council at a hearing. A license can be suspended up to one year, and revoked up to three years.

A copy of the ordinance is available for viewing at the borough office.

A feral cat problem fixed itself when a woman reportedly feeding the wild animals moved out of the borough earlier this year.

Firda said an ordinance was necessary because “we just didn't want it to happen again.”

The feral and stray cat ordinance makes it unlawful for people to let their cats run free outside their residence unless the feline has been neutered or spayed, immunized against rabies, and appropriately “tipped” in the left ear to signify it has been neutered/spayed and immunized.

It makes it unlawful for any person to feed feral cats, “if such feeding causes a nuisance to neighbors or created a condition contrary to the health, safety and welfare of the community.”

Anyone violating any provision of the ordinance can be fined up to $1,000 for each violation, and could be imprisoned for up to 90 days.

Council approved advertising an ordinance requiring dangerous dog owners to register their canine with the borough.

Councilors said it will help emergency responders know where such animals are located.

The next regular council meeting is scheduled for Aug. 19 at 8 p.m. at 45 Abe's Way.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or