Smoking banned at Thorsby parks

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2011

By JUSTIN AVERETTE | Managing Editor

The Thorsby Town Council voted Tuesday to ban smoking at town parks. The move goes a step further than when the council agreed to permit smoking at designated areas.

Pam Price, who brought the issue before the council back in the spring, came before the council Tuesday night asking to ban smoking completely.

“I want the ballpark smoke free. If they want to smoke, they can smoke at their house,” Price said. “This is about the kids.”

Neil Benson made the motion to ban smoking in town parks, which Jean Nelson seconded. Council members passed the motion unanimously.

Concerns still remain over how the ordinance will be enforced when ball starts back up again.

Mayor Dearl Hilyer said any ordinance is only as good as the police department’s ability to enforce it.

“Every road in Thorsby has a speed limit sign … (A smoking ban) is only as good as the ability to enforce it.”

Thorsby Police Chief Rodney Barnett said his department can go to parks for inspections but won’t be present around the clock to look for smokers.

More specifics, like what to fine those caught smoking, still have to be finalized at future council meetings.

“We’ve got to follow through,” said Benson.

In other business, the council took the following actions:

•Hired Forrest Silas as a full-time police officer. He already was working part-time for the town and replaces an officer who resigned in June.

•Increased the fee charged for when someone writes a bad check to the town from $25 to $40. Town Clerk Denis Gunn said Thorsby has seen an uptick in the number of bad checks recently.

•Public Works Director Terry Jackson reported that the town had to pick up several fallen limbs after Tropical Storm Lee. He also said the town’s wells held up well during the recent drought.