Connellsville council to take action on ordinances for new curfew, demolition bonds
Connellsville City Council on Tuesday will act on ordinances involving curfews and changes in demolition bonds.
The city's board of health asked council to review the default limit on demolition bonds for residential and commercial structures.
The bond for residential structures is set at $1,000. The bond for commercial structures is set at $10,000.
It is being proposed to increase the bond for residential structures to $5,000 and for commercial structures to $50,000. Also, bond amount for a residential structure that is more than 40,000 square feet of space will be set by the city engineer and the city clerk.
The proposed change also includes a $100 filing fee. Some language in the ordinance regarding structures more than 100,000 square feet of space is also being proposed.
The ordinance will go into effect 10 days after it's passed by council.
In other business, council will vote to adopt a new curfew for minors during night and school hours.
Mayor Greg Lincoln brought the updated curfew to council after several juveniles were involved in different violent crimes in the area — including an armed robbery of a pizza delivery driver and an assault and robbery of an elderly man in his home.
The curfew for juveniles is 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and midnight Fridays and Saturdays.
The proposed ordinance sets the curfew between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays or during school hours from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. This is so the ordinance will include students skipping school.
There are exceptions in the ordinance allowing juveniles to be out after curfew if accompanied by a parent, being involved in an emergency, employment, etc. However, the curfew would make it unlawful for a minor to be in any public place or inside a vehicle or a business during the specified hours.
Connellsville Police Chief Jim Capitos said the new hours will not stop the hard-core juvenile criminals but will keep off the street the juveniles that can be influenced by that group.
Any minor or parent who violates the ordinance can receive a nontraffic citation from city police and the minor could be taken into temporary custody and released to a parent or guardian.
The first offense brings a fine of $50; second offense, between $100 and $150; and third offense, between $150 and $200, with parents subjected to imprisonment for up to 90 days and minors entered into the juvenile court system. The fifth and subsequent offenses include a fine between $300 and $500, with the parents subjected to 90 days imprisonment and the minors entered into the juvenile court system.
Any business owner who knowingly allows minors to be at the business and violating curfew can be fined $50 and possibly 90 days in prison for the first offense; two or more offenses brings a fine of $300 with 90 days imprisonment.
“One of the provisions I really like is this ordinance gives our chief of police the discretion to extend the curfew if he feels it needs be, because of a sporting event or any other function in the city that would involve juveniles,” said Lincoln. “I am very hopeful that council will pass the new curfew ordinance at Tuesday's meeting. Once we pass the new ordinance, it will take 10 days to take effect. I'm hoping this will give our police department another tool to help curb juveniles from running our city streets at all hours of the night.”
Other action council is expected to take on Tuesday:
• Vote to advertise for a full-time tax clerk with salary and benefits set in the current contract and a part-time tax clerk to be paid $7.50 an hour not to exceed $3,600 annually from the city and $3,000 annually from the Connellsville Area School District.
• Remind residents that city hall will be closed on Good Friday.
• Announce spring cleanup day in the city will be May 10. Items are to be placed on the curbside the night before.
• Vote to donate $75 to New Haven Hose Co. VFD for two American flags to be displayed at city hall on eight holidays.
• Vote to support the Don't Trash My Turf campaign to help fight littering and keep the city clean.
• Vote on closing North Arch Street in front of City Hall from 4:30 to 10 p.m. July 4 for the annual fireworks celebration, closing Crawford Avenue between Arch Street and Pittsburgh Street from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 23 for the Geranium Festival, closing Crawford Avenue between Arch Street and Pittsburgh Street from 4 to 9 p.m. Aug. 16 for Savor the Avenue event and closing all necessary streets for short periods of time for the New Haven Hose Co. VFD 5K run/walk beginning at 8 a.m. May 10. All will be pending approval from Capitos and PennDOT.
Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or firstname.lastname@example.org.