An ordinance banning smoking in the city of Elkins parks is one step closer to being implemented. On Tuesday, the Rules and Ordinance Committee recommended the passage of the measure to Elkins City Council.
"I am here trying to get the ordinance passed to support tobacco-free parks," Tobacco Prevention Specialist Chris Kimble told the committee.
"It is just an extra boost for enforcement."
Elkins Parks and Recreation Director Phil Gainer said the parks commission has already implemented a policy banning tobacco use in the parks, and an ordinance will help with enforcement. Gainer said he would not be doing his job if he didn't try to protect youth from the dangers of tobacco use.
"There is also a real issue with cigarette butts," Gainer said. "Workers spend two to three days a week cleaning up butts."
Gainer said out of 100 people who smoke in the parks, probably only five pick-up their cigarette butts.
"This will be a tough thing to enforce," he said.
City Attorney Gerry Roberts suggested the committee place penalties in the ordinance.
"We need to pass something so it can be enforced," Councilman and Rules and Ordinance Committee Chairman Mark Scott, 3rd Ward, said.
After a short discussion, the committee recommended placing a fine from $20 to $100 for people who violate the ordinance. The measure was recommended to city council.
The ordinance banning smoking in the parks was also recommended by the Elkins Public Safety Committee. The measure will be placed on a future Elkins City Council meeting, but it is not slated for the meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday in city hall.
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