Council Tables Feeding Feral Cats Ordinance Vote, Approves Parking Meter Hours Change
Bristol Borough council tabled a vote on one zoning ordinance and approved a second measure at last weeks meeting.
Council after about an hour long discussion, involving homeowners, advocates and cat lovers agreed to table a vote on a proposed change to the borough code that would have penalized people for feeding feral cats.
The decision to table the vote was the result of north ward resident Melissa Redmond who asked council to change the language of the proposed ordinance to say penalties would be assessed to those feeding cats who are part unkept and unmanaged colonies.
Redmond suggested council take a more proactive approach, but one where residents who are being “good neighbors” in taking care of the colonies they are feeding, not be punished.
The suggested act before council reads, “to prohibit the feeding of feral cats.” Redmond suggested the language of the proposal to read “to prohibit the feeding of un-managed and unkempt colonies.”
Redmond said the language change is meant not to be punitive to “feeders” who are being responsible with the cats they’re feeding.
Saying you can’t feed the cats, she said, as a measure, wouldn’t rectify the issue.
“The cats are not going to go away”
We’re not looking to starve the cats. But people are abusing the system. Home owners property is being damaged, council president Ralph DiGuiseppe said, and something needs to be done. I don’t think council has a problem with changing a word or two.
Adding “we need to do something. Its not the cats, its the person who is being more irresponsible” he said.
“We’re not trying to starve cats… you need to put something in an ordinance the borough can act on,” the council president added
Redmond said a solutions based approach, specifically outlining expectations for cat feeders -e.g. spaying of colonies, moving feeding area (s) and just being a good neighbor, seems to her, to be a better approach, then the council proposed rule.
On the other side of the issue, a Taft Street home owner who lives “next to the apartments” where about 12 cats are being fed daily said her property was being destroyed and outlined for council the myriad ways she and her husband have tried to keep feral’s off of there property. She said, since the cats don’t “poop” where they eat, they come to mine to go to the bathroom.
My yard smells like crap. My grandchildren say the basement smells like “pee” and we don’t own any cats, she said.
The borough took cats out, had them spayed, and brought then back. And this doesn’t solve my problem, she explained,
I don’ hate cats, but they are destroying my home, she said, even with all the help the borough and council has provided so far,
Penalties for violating the rule were not discussed, however, a cat rescue advocate cited a feeder who violated the code in Bensalem, where it cost them thousands in fines.
Officials tabled the vote to tweak the proposed code’s language and expect to bring back up for a vote in the near future.
In other news, council approved an ordinance change for enforcement hours of parking meters, adding four more hours to the Monday thru Sunday schedule, not including holidays.
Right now we’re just doing the ordinance said DiGuiseppe in response to inquiries from north ward Councilman Tony Devine.
Devine wanted to know how the borough planned to to implement the change, if no one is issuing tickets after 5 p.m. are we planning to hire another parking enforcement officer, he asked.
DiGuiseppe said hiring someone is something council could discuss down the road. There are meters that aren’t working and people are just leaving vehicles behind
Business owners, officials said, complained that after 5 pm they can’t get customers because residents are putting there vehicles in parking spots until the next day.
We don’t know what the right thing to do is right now – its (the ordinance) being advertised. If we have to hire someone we’ll have to look at the pros and cons of hiring and its costs, DiGuiseppe said.
Devine said its simply makes no sense to put the measure in place if no one is going to enforce it.
Prior to the council meeting, east ward councilman Gregg Pezza who’s wife owns Itri Wood Fire on Mill Street said, “as we install new meters, which we plan to do, the idea is to keep options open as professionals examine our current parking procedures. This was the purpose of the ordinance.”
The motion passed 7 to 1 with Devine voting no.
Lower Bucks Source recently submitted a Right to Know requests seeking to find out how much money the meters bring in yearly and how many there are, in Bristol. The request is pending a 30-day extension, the borough, by law can asked for.
Mayor Joseph Saxton did not attend the meeting as he is recovering from a recent surgery.
Ralph on retirement stuff – council is/was well aware the retirement o the fund was shorted over the last two yeats cause we voted to shott the MMO due to lack of funds.
It had been like that for years -where the fund was shorted and we started to address it when I was came to council
Bristol Lions Shed- with the help of The King George Inn, Bristol Lions will ve getting a new snack shack, that will be tied into the Wharf system. Damged in recent storms and flooding
Events are subject to cnange
Aug 24 12 and under thriugfht rhe PD that can’t afford rides will ride free from 6 to 10.
St Marks Night — discount for kids
105 kids signed up for socceer – programmikng is free – estimates 300 to 400 kids for Basketball $1500.00 from Aug to end of year.
45 k owed to borough
Right now just doing the oridnance -hiring is somerhing we can discuss down the road down the road we’re looking at buying new meters – meters aren’t working people jjst leaving vehicles behind – lots of bizzes saying after 5 pm they can’t get customers cause resdents are putting there vehicles there til the next day.
We don’t know what the right thing to do is right now – its beig advetised — if we have to hire someone we’ll have to look the pros and cons – hiring – costs, etc
“We’re not hiring anyone til 9 pm” Tony- well then why do it if its not going to be enforced