By DANIEL SUDDEATH
NEW ALBANY — The New Albany City Council approved ordinances to end road collections for charitable causes and to forbid stuffed furniture from being placed on porches and decks on initial readings Monday.
Both measures were sponsored by Councilman Greg Phipps, and each will require a final ballot before becoming official.
By a 5-3 count, as Councilman Bob Caesar was absent from the meeting, the council moved to abolish the practice of money collections at street intersections. Phipps said in the past year, he’s witnessed multiple near-accidents where a motorist almost struck a person accepting donations.
“There’s dangers for the motorists, there’s danger for the participants, and it does slow down traffic at those intersections,” Phipps said.
However, local resident Pat Lilly said he collects for the Salvation Army at the intersection of Spring and Silver Streets three times per year, and the organization depends on the donations.
“That’s the least that we feel that we can do to help in a good, positive way,” he said.
Lilly added his family has also collected at the intersection, and they use safety cones and reflective vests to help ensure their well-being.
Council members Diane McCartin-Benedetti and Scott Blair voted against the ordinance because they said it doesn’t provide groups an alternative to raise money.
“I’d like to be able to give these groups a way to continue to do their fundraising,” Blair said.
Phipps countered that some businesses, such as Walmart, allow organizations to solicit donations on their premises. Councilman Dan Coffey suggested groups utilize cookouts and car washes for fundraisers, as he said they are safer for the people involved and can be just as lucrative as road collections.
Councilman John Gonder also voted against the ordinance.
Outdoor ban on indoor furniture passes
The council voted 8-0 to make it an offense to store stuffed furniture like most couches and recliners outside.
The measure could change by final reading, but it establishes a $25 first-time fee, up to a $100 third penalty for placing indoor furniture on porches and decks.
Councilman Kevin Zurschmiede requested that the ordinance clarify that furniture designed for outdoor exposure that appears to be meant for indoor use not be banned.
There were also concerns raised about enforcement, as several council members said the city struggles to put action behind its codes.
“We have so many ordinances that just aren’t getting enforced,” Zurschmiede said.
Phipps said enforcement needs to be reviewed for all codes, but added that shouldn’t stop the council from approving prudent changes to the books.
“I just think it’s a nice addition to our current code,” Phipps said of the ban.
People wouldn’t be fined for placing indoor furniture curbside for trash pickup under the ordinance. The council is slated to meet again on Feb. 21.