Last week, Buckhannon City Council discussed an ordinance not only governing the abatement of methamphetamine labs, but one that would establish a registry of those involved in manufacturing the dangerous drug.
In part, the ordinance calls for the establishment of a registry "of all persons determined to have been responsible for creating or contributing to the creation of meth or other controlled substance residue that prompts meth or controlled substance contamination abatement" within any building or structure in the corporate limits of the city of Buckhannon.
Although a similar piece of legislation was tabled this past session in Charleston, Buckhannon officials are taking the appropriate and commendable proactive steps to thwart this plague on our community.
In the controversial ordinance, any person listed on the registry would remain on it for a period of 10 years.
"This is a little bit different from the sexual offense registry. If you are on that registry, you are on that registry for the rest of your life," said City Attorney Dave McCauley. "We don't want to have someone be labeled as a drug abuser or a manufacturer for necessarily their entire life."
Further, Buckhannon City Councilman Ron Pugh made a valid point concerning the registry.
"If they're manufacturing meth, there's a good chance their life span isn't going to be 10 years anyway," Pugh said.
Despite any misgivings by city officials and the community, this move is a step in the right direction.
Methamphetamine use has had an immense impact on our entire state. Its affects have cost the small communities and towns across the Mountain State millions for abatement and caused a sharp decline in real estate prices throughout otherwise quaint neighborhoods. It also has taken a toll on county and state government budgets in the form of huge regional jail and penitentiary costs.
If passed, Buckhannon's forward thinking on this issue truly will make a difference in our area. Other cities, counties and the state should take note and follow suit.
The first official reading of the ordinance is slated for May 1 to afford Council members, the public and members of the Upshur County Landlords' Association an opportunity to review it.
The ordinance is posted online at www.buckhannonwv.org, and copies are also available for review at City Hall, 70 E. Main St.