News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 14, 2013

Commissioners consider stiffer tire storage ordinance

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Vigo County Commissioners will soon determine if changes should be made to a county tire storage ordinance.

The county’s Board of Commissioners voted this week to advertise a proposed amended ordinance next week, meaning the board could make a final vote in late March or early April, said Vigo County attorney Michael Wright.

The amended tire ordinance must be advertised twice, one week apart, as it includes new fines, Wright said.

The county first enacted a tire storage ordinance in 2006 as a way to reduce the breeding of mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus. One proposed change is to remove a 10-day grace period to correct violations and replace that with the word “immediately.”

Commissioner President Judith Anderson said commissioners discussed the use of the term “immediately,” which could cause one tire company concern as it deals with huge tires for mining equipment, some of which may be 12 to 14 feet in diameter or larger.

Those tires could not be removed quickly as they require special equipment because of their size and weight. However, Anderson said that company has agreed to make a permanent storage building for the tires and has worked with the county health department on what it must do to comply with proposed changes in the ordinance.

Commissioner Brad Anderson said he is still concerned about the terminology.

“My concern is the word immediate. I don’t like that in the ordinance. I would suggest 48 hours or something like that. Immediate is to your discretion or whoever’s discretion to enforce that. The word immediate just really bothers me,” Brad Anderson said.

Joni Wise, administrator of the Vigo County Health Department, said the term immediately is used in other county ordinances. Health inspectors, for example at a restaurant, do not tell if they will return in 48 hours, as in that time frame “there could be a greater possibility of a health hazard to the public,” Wise said.

“I think that is why in public health we use the word immediate. We have never been a black and white department. We are gray,” Wise said. “We understand. We are human beings also. We are there to educate and help the businesses and the public so they can make an informed choice for healthier outcomes.”

“I understand, I just don’t like that word,” Brad Anderson said again.

Wright said that while the ordinance will be advertised, commissioners could make changes to the ordinance prior to a final vote.

Some other proposed changes include increased fines for improper storage, with a $50 fine for the first offense, $100 for the second and $250 for the third and subsequent offense. In addition, failure to produce proper documentation of proper tire disposal would result in a fine of $100 per day for the first offense and $250 for the second and subsequent offenses.

Another change is the definition of “proper storage,” which under the amended ordinance would be a permanent, solid, impermeable covered enclosure. The use of a tarp to cover tires would be considered improper storage.

The Vigo County Board of Health unanimously approved the amended ordinance in January, which then brought the ordinance before the Board of Commissioners for final approval.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.