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Talks to horse owners may solve more than regulating

“It’s been brought to some of the city council members’ attention, that we are having issues with (Amish) horse droppings on our city streets and we are trying to resolve that issue.”

That’s what Public Health and Safety chairman and Cornell City Council member Aimee Korger, said at a meeting Nov. 19. After talking with Cornell Police Chief Brian Hurt, it was discovered that only Augusta had an ordinance on the books, regulating droppings on city streets.

Augusta’s ordinance reads: All horse drawn carriages operated within city limits…shall be equipped with manure catching devices.

Hurt says the concern is also with cleats on horse shoes in summer, when pavement is soft. The imprints can leave divets, so when water gets in and freezes, the roads will break down faster.

Those present at the public meeting agreed there is a fair amount of horse traffic in Cornell during the summer, and agreed something needs to be done to curb the droppings spread across the city.

It was agreed that an ordinance should be drafted, stating that May 1 through Oct. 31, the cleated shoes should be prohibited, as well as stating a horse would need a waste receptacle bag attached, when in the city limits.

“Basically, if you’re bringing a horse drawn carriage into the city, you got to have a catcher on the horse,” said Hurt.

Taking the recommendation to the regular council meeting Nov. 21, Korger ask for permission to authorize the city


attorney to draft an ordinance, prohibiting horse droppings on city streets. Korger says Cornell would copy the ordinance from Augusta.

She also said it should be required that the horse wear the dropping receptacle, otherwise, buckets and shovels will need to be provided, which will require city workers to empty the buckets periodically.

“I think that the catch bag is probably the best,” said Korger.

Steve Turany, council member, asked where most Amish traffic is in the city, to which members came up with a list of the hardware store, grocery store, bank and food pantry, as the main businesses patronized.

Typically, to avoid the busy, fast-paced highways, Amish buggies/wagons come into town from Woodside Drive, Eighth Street and Ripley Street, traveling down Main Street to reach the weekly farmers market in the summer.

“We’ve got every street covered then, ain’t we?” asked Floyd Hickethier, council member.

Council member Ashley Carother said she wished someone had reached out to the Amish community first, before deciding an ordinance was the only option.

“My question was going to be, have they been approached at all?” said Turany.

Korger said it was something Hurt had planned, but when the issue was brought forward a second time, he was on vacation and didn’t have time to talk to any Amish people. She said the council could table the ordinance or tell the Amish community the city is putting the ordinance in the books, because Cornell is having a problem with the droppings.

Hickethier said it would be alright to have the ordinance ready, but not finalize it until the Amish were talked to.

“I don’t have any problem putting on a well thought out ordinance,” said Turany, “but in the meantime, I really think we need to reach out them with our police force…if that doesn’t work, then we do take it to the next level.”

Turany also pointed out that not everyone who brings horses into the city is Amish and that Cornell still has issues with droppings, even when the Amish are not present.

Mayor Judy Talbot said while it wouldn’t hurt to have something on the books, most of the Amish people probably don’t even realize the droppings are causing an issue.

As the proposed ordinance is a “cut and paste,” Korger says it can be passed at any time and members agreed Hurt should attempt to talk to the Amish community, before taking any further action.

“It’ll put our good faith forward, first, which I think is what we need,” said Talbot. “We do want them to continue to come to town, to patronize our communities, our banks and all that other stuff.”