Manure Manners

Transportation issues are apparently piling up on the streets of Sugar Grove Borough.

Gary Fry first raised the issue at Monday’s evening’s meeting of Sugar Grove Borough Council. “It’s getting old, folks,” he said. “We have a larger Amish community than we’ve ever had. It’s just getting more and more.”

The issue? Horse manure on borough streets.

“What do you think we should do?” Councilman Pete Allenson asked.

“Start communicating with them as much as we can,” Fry said. “They spend money in town. They’re good people. It is what it is. It’s animal feces.”

Councilman Kevin Nicklas said that, on his street, manure is an issue several times a week.

“Where we’re having a problem is who is going to enforce it,” Councilman Les Lyon said.

Council considered enacting an additional ordinance, above and beyond the nuisance ordinance, to address the problem.

“The ordinance we have hasn’t worked because we haven’t enforced it,” Council President Kevin McIntyre said. “That’s our own fault.”

“I don’t see how you’re going to,” Nicklas said.

“If there could be a way to get it done voluntarily,” Fry said. “Up and down the main drag it gets scruffy.”

Fry explained that he reached out to one of the Amish bishops in the area to talk about the issue. One possible solution is the Amish putting manure collection bags on their horses. “Some of the Amish would probably be for it,” he said. “Some are just like you Englishman, bull-headed, just won’t listen to anything. Turning a deaf ear to it, that’s not going to get anything.”

Mayor Dutch Strand said enforcement “can be done, but you have to be serious about it if you’re going to do it.”

McIntyre said that one possibility would be to hire a constable to enforce the nuisance ordinance, but he said obtaining the offender’s name, and identifying the correct buggy, would pose challenges.

“The state (police) troopers aren’t going to come out and enforce it,” Lyon said.

“At what point in time do we hold whoever it is responsible,” Allenson asked. “How much should we spend on it.”

“It’s more of a problem on some streets than others,” McIntyre said. “We want to work with them. I don’t know how else you’re going to do it.”

“You have to decide what kind of investment that is,” Councilman Gregory Wilson said. “What precisely do we get out of the ordinance? (We) have to do more than just say we’re going to pass a law.”

Strand indicated that the borough’s intention was to hire a constable. Lyon said that he would explore the process and costs associated with constables.

Lyon asked whether it has been an issue over the last 50 or 60 years. “It was,” Secretary Karla LoPresti said, explaining that she can trace discussion of the topic through the council meeting minutes.

Council agreed to not adopt an additional ordinance which, according to McIntyre and his discussions with legal counsel, would have been largely unenforceable anyway.

“I think we need to get creative and work with them,” said McIntyre. “We have to think outside of the box.”

Nicklas said, “It comes down to how are we going to work together as a community to solve this.”