DAYTON — Dayton Town Council voted to give more power to Town Attorney Jason Ham and Town Superintendent Angela Lawrence to enforce nuisance codes after a closed-door meeting at the end of the council meeting on Monday.
“There’s a couple of properties in town that have been in violation of our nuisance ordinance for quite some time,” Lawrence said.
Ham and Lawrence are now authorized to levy fines and even lawsuits against the violators.
Lawrence said other Dayton residents have repeatedly contacted the town to resolve the issue.
“We’ve received a lot of complaints and it’s been a long-term issue,” she said.
Earlier in the meeting, council also voted for new penalties for residents with grass above 8 inches.
The move brings town code into compliance with state code, Lawrence said.
Under the provision, Dayton will send a notice to residents with grass that is too long to trim their garden.
If the resident does not comply, the town will cut the grass at the resident’s expense.
On top of the charges from the town for mowing, there will be an additional $50 fine for the first violation. Fines can be no higher than $3,000 over one year.
To start off the meeting, Dayton Police Chief Justin Trout was formally sworn in to office by Heather Reardon, deputy clerk of the circuit court.
“It’s exciting — I’m happy to be a part of the town of Dayton,” Trout said.
Trout served as the police chief since the previous chief, Daniel Hanlon, stepped down on June 15.
“Angela Lawrence had made it official a few weeks back, but we finally got the actual appointment done tonight so I could have family here and some friends who wanted to come,” he said.
Tonight, Trout will host his first town meeting as chief in the Dayton council chambers to hear questions from residents and talk to them about the department’s work.
“I believe in transparency — I want people to know what we’re doing here, what I have planned, where I see the department going,” he said.
Trout said he intends to hold such a meeting at least once a year.
“I want to involve the town on how we police the town,” he said.
At the meeting on Monday, Trout also presented the Dayton police activity report for August, which stated there were over 300 calls for service, two arrests and four crashes.
The department is still looking to hire a lieutenant to the force.
In other news, Councilman Zachary Fletchall was reappointed to the Dayton economic development authority, while L.J. Purcell was appointed to the group. Mayor Sam Lee was also reappointed to the authority.
The council members’ terms on the board expire on July 10, 2023, while Purcell’s term expires on July 10, 2021.
Council also discussed various projects going on around the town.
The town is waiting for Verizon to remove poles along High and Mill streets before work can continue on the Mill Street project.
Well No. 4 is still not operating “anywhere near full capacity,” Lawrence said. The town is waiting for another proposal on repairs.