Gaming, stray cats the focus of city leaders

Norwalk City Council members handled a diverse agenda Tuesday night ordinances to limit gambling, feral cats, a library levy and fire protection. Council took the first step to modify city ordinances to force businesses such as Spin to Win to locate in specified zoning locations.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010


Norwalk City Council members handled a diverse agenda Tuesday night ordinances to limit gambling, feral cats, a library levy and fire protection.

Council took the first step to modify city ordinances to force businesses such as Spin to Win to locate in specified zoning locations.

"That's what brought the situation to our attention," Norwalk City Law Director Stuart O'Hara said about the controversy of the location of Spin to Win near school.

He said police are no longer issuing daily tickets to the operators of the business because a pretrial hearing will be held next Tuesday regarding the 10 tickets already issued.

Council sent one ordinance to the planning and zoning board and approved another ordinance to amend current zoning regulations to regulate any business that results in the "opportunity to win cash or any prize immediately redeemable for cash."

O'Hara said the process to amend city ordinances could take from two to three months.

Reese Wineman, the attorney for Spin to Win, filed a lawsuit last week in U.S. District Court to stop what the business calls "continuing illegal harassment" from Norwalk officials.

The suit asks for $200,000 in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages for Spin to Win owner David Pugh, business operators Ed and Bonnie Cordle and James Loyer, the owner of the Water Street property where the business is located.

Council met in executive session to discuss possible litigation and personnel matters, but would not say if the litigation concerned the lawsuit filed by Spin to Win.

In a different matter, Don Ratliff, of 34 Jefferson St., told council members that feral cats are invading his property.

"The cats are using the hedges around my front yard as a toilet," he said.

Ratliff said he not only has to remove the feces left by the cats, but also has to spray his porch for fleas. Based on current city policy, he said, "There's nothing we can do with it."

He said he would have to pay $20 for each animal if he caught the feral cats and took them to the Humane Society. But, he added, he can't kill the animals without complaints from the Humane Society.

"I'm tired of spraying my front porch for fleas," he said.

Mayor Sue Lesch acknowledged the problem, but said the expense of a comprehensive program to neuter feral cats is a problem for the city.

Councilman Robert Carleton, who has studied the issue, said the only effective way to handle the problem is at trap, neuter and release (TNR) program. It takes from three to five years for a comprehensive program to handle the problem, Carleton said.

Librarian Martin Haffey and Jeff Reed, head of Friends of the Library, attended the council meeting to ask for support for the library's five-year continuing levy.

Reed told council that the levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $14 annually. "That's less than the cost of a good hardbacked book," Reed said.

Council also toured the fire station and heard the results of a report by T.G. Fire/EMS Systems to review the location of Norwalk's fire station.


Taxed Enough (A...

I'm fairly new to Norwalk, but am not new the idea of asking for a levy. Yes, the $14 proposed Library Levy isn't much but why do we have to pay it. The Library can and should just go after Grant Money that the Federal Government already has set aside waiting for Non-Profit Organizations like the Libraries in this country to ask for it.

pro-library (An...

There is no grant out there that will pay for sustained, year to year costs of operating a library. Ohio's tax system is set up to rely on property taxes for a variety of educational and related services, and the framers of the tax code felt decisions about local libraries were best left in the hands of the local citizenry who would patronize the library. This small levy goes a long way in meeting the library's basic needs. Our library provides a wealth of services and - as far as I can tell - is pretty frugal and efficient in doing it. And it's always amusing when someone reasons "Why should we pay for it? Get a grant". Any federal grant comes from - you guessed it - our taxes.

oh my gosh (Ano...

Okay so stray cats are definitely a problem and not a new one if there is such a program to take care of it plans should have been underway long ago. The library well many people use it for business, pleasure and education. I guess I would suggest rather than raise taxes that maybe increase library fees or maybe charge a little for internet services when they are used. I am not saying this solves all issues but wouldn't it help? As for the
Gambling issue it's all around us not just spin to win (which until today I had never heard of) Each bar has it's own way of Gambling, pool games for money, dart tournaments, and I am sure other things. I guess I don't see the jist of the whole problem.

septic STINKS!!...

The health dept. needs to make the people in Monroeville on Rt. 99 fix their leaky septic! Sweet Jesus!! Their poor neighbors!!Between them burning their trash last night, which I know is illegal,& the stench of poop,their neighbors in the city limits can't even breathe in their own yard!!This is BULL!I was over there visiting,& I had to leave it was disgusting!I think the residents in this neighborhood have had to put up with this problem, 4 years to long! Mr. Cherry at the health dept. needs to get the ball rolling on this!Why are the good taxpayers of this village suffering because these people don't care about anyone else!

? (Anonymous)

Changing Zoning? Why? This situation don't make sense. Is this an attack on "Spin to Win" or will this new and amended ordinance effect all operations with coin operated games of skill? Will this effect Bingo gambling considering it takes place at a school? Pull tab tickets? Someone please explain the city's thought process to me.

Like an orange ...

I ain't got enough dough to pay the rent...

Let's just neve...

(I know someone will read this and think that I am insert sarcasm here)

That way we can all be dumb farm people like everyone perceives us to be anyway. Let's not help our schools, shut down the library, fail the levies for firehouses and police departments so that our community is dumb and riddled with crime. After all, why should we pay it?

Everyone has a hard time with bills and life, but don't you think life would be harder living in a community that doesn't care? Until we can come up with an alternative we should do all we can to make where we live the best it can be.

look at (Anonymous)

wakeman, ive been over there once, had a great time, spent 5 bucks in nickels, played for about an hour and had free coffee and chips, whats the big deal, its no comparision to vegas or atlantic city by no means.
the city should look at gameing as an opportunity rather than a nuisence, its about time we get with the new centry, and quit kicking a dead horse.

RE: Septic Stin...

You aren't going to accomplish anything posting that here. I don't know what article you are responding to, but THIS article doesn't cover that subject. Just so you know... Burning is allowed outside of city limits.