Three East Side residents are fed up with a lack of enforcement on a long-time problem auto garage and ATVs and dirt bikes racing up and down city streets.
As far as New Castle city council is concerned, the job of enforcement begins with the mayor.
Tim Thomas, of 313 North Ray St., again came before council to ask about an auto garage across from his home. He said the mess at Lou Thomas Garage, located at 306 North Ray St., has only gotten worse and that the city’s plan of issuing citations isn’t working. At the garage, there are cars parked in the yard and on the sidewalk, among other issues.
“Issuing citations once a month is not getting the job done,” Thomas said. “(Solicitor) Mr. (Ted) Saad is not aggressive enough. This whole plan is not aggressive enough.”
Neither Saad nor Mayor Chris Frye attended Thursday’s meeting.
Council President Tom Smith, who works as the borough manager and regional police administrator in Seven Fields borough, said an issue he’s been dealing with there finally was resolved after 18 months, stressing that issues like this can be drawn out due to necessary paperwork and court proceedings.
Councilman Tim Fulkerson pushed back to some of Thomas’ assertions that city council is on the hook for this issue and others like it.
“This is a strong form of mayor government,” Fulkerson said during his comment period. “The mayor controls the police department, the fire department, public works, everything. If he tells the chief of police to put an officer at the front of the building and write every violation that comes up right then and there, he can do that. To put the onus back on us to say we’re not writing the legislation and we’re not changing everything, that’s a farce. I would say that if Chris was here.”
Fulkerson said a patrol officer could have been at the location all summer writing citations, but that those directions must come from the mayor to the chief of police.
“We can call and make a suggestion and nine times out of 10 the mayor will work with us on that suggestion,” Fulkerson said. “For us to be accused of not changing the legislation, that really put a rub on me.”
Also taking the podium were couple Michael and Dorothy Jopchak, of 1106 Court St., about concerns over the ATVs and dirt bikes racing up and down Court Street. They said the noise is so loud, they have to stay inside and try to muffle the noise with their TV audio.
“We had yesterday all day long quads and dirtbikes,” Michael Jopchak said. “We call, we ask, we get dead ends and everyone is passing the buck. This is no way to live.”
His wife brought about similar concerns and held up a print out of an April New Castle News article where city police Chief Bobby Salem said officers were cracking down on the vehicle riders. Councilwoman MaryAnne Gavrile, who serves as chair of the public safety committee, said she would bring these issues up at a meeting next week.