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Police & Fire News

December 16, 2013

Panhandling measure up for vote in New Albany

Council to address issue Thursday

NEW ALBANY — Following Clarksville’s lead, New Albany may soon have tighter restrictions on panhandling.

Councilwoman Shirley Baird is sponsoring a measure, which will be up for initial votes on Thursday, that would limit aggressive panhandling in the city.

Clarksville passed a similar ordinance last month, but Baird said the New Albany measure is actually based more on the Louisville law for panhandling.

For example, panhandlers will be forbidden from aggressive solicitation within 20 feet of ATM machines, on private or residential property if they have been asked to refrain from doing so, or when a person is operating a motor vehicle.

“I just wanted to give the police a little bit better of an ordinance with teeth in it,” Baird said on Monday.

People also deserve a measure of comfort when they’re in New Albany and hopefully tightening up the law will keep residents from being approached for donations against their will, she added.

If approved, the ordinance also prohibits aggressive panhandling on any public place, within 20 feet of outdoor dining areas or within 20 feet of school buildings or playgrounds.

The measure also forbids aggressive panhandling on streets or crosswalks or within 20 feet of entries and exits to public entertainment venues.

Initial fines would be $25, though a third violation within a year could constitute in a penalty not to exceed $250.

The council is also slated to cast initial ballots on forming a New Albany Port Authority on Thursday. The meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the third-floor Assembly Room of the City-County Building.

Police cars vote delayed until January

The final ballot on a $450,000 appropriation to purchase 15 new police cars won’t be cast until January.

New Albany City Councilman Dan Coffey said he will pull the third and final reading for the appropriation before Thursday’s meeting. Appropriations don’t carry over into the next year, so the council would have to vote on releasing the funds again next year anyway, Coffey said.

Also, New Albany Police Department Chief Sherri Knight will have additional time to detail the need for the new cars, he continued.

Coffey said the city will save “a small fortune on fuel consumption and maintenance” by purchasing new, efficient vehicles.

“These cars should pay for themselves comfortably in four to five years,” he said.

The council approved the purchases on initial readings earlier this month.

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