Juvenile curfew law to discussed by GF Council

Friday, August 10, 2007

Green Forest -- Council members will consider their first-ever juvenile curfew law at Monday's meeting.

School Resource Officer Gaylon Riggs said City Attorney Ben Wulff was asked to draft the proposed ordinance because of the "many complaints of juveniles running the streets until 2 to 3 in the morning," noting that there was a "large increase in vandalism and theft."

He said the juveniles ranged in ages from 12 to 17 years old.

The proposed ordinance states that juveniles 17 years old and under can not be in an outdoor public place, such as the street or park, in a vehicle or at any establishment in the city limits of Green Forest during curfew hours.

From September through May, the proposed curfew starts at 10 p.m. and ends at 6 a.m during the weekdays, Sunday through Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays, however, the curfew will start at 11 p.m.

Then during the summer months, June through August, the curfew hours will be from 11 p.m to 6 a.m., seven days a week.

If the proposed curfew law passes, the offending juvenile will immediately be picked up and the legal guardian will be contacted.

The guardian will then have two hours to pick the child up before the juvenile will be handed over to the Department of Human Services (DHS).

However, if the juvenile is 13 years old or younger, he or she will immediately be turned over to DHS without parental notification.

Also in the proposed law, if the legal guardian of the offending juvenile "knowingly permits, or by insufficient control allows" the child to break curfew, the guardian is subject to a fine up to $500, or 40 hours of community service.

If the child is found in violation of the curfew, he or she may be ordered to perform up to 25 hours of community service.

Juveniles who would be considered exempt from the proposed law would include those who are accompanied by a legal guardian or any person age 25 or older, those involved in interstate travel, those who travel back and forth from a job (without detour or stop), those involved in an emergency, those standing on a sidewalk that joins their residence or residence of a next-door neighbor (if the neighbor did not complain to police), or if they are attending an official school, religious, or other recreational activity sponsored by the city of Green Forest, civic organization, or similar group.

Also up for discussion at Monday's meeting is the relocation of the water and sewer lines located in the area of the widening project east of town on U.S. Hwy. 62.

Joe Tarvin, of Egis Engineering, said it would take six months to move the utility lines and that the company had started designing the relocation project a month ago.

He said after the lines were moved, the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department's widening project would be able to "move on," but he didn't know when that project would commence.

"I'll try to get more answers for you and get back with you next week," said Tarvin.

Public Works Director Buddy Fry informed council members of a Carroll-Boone Water District water rate increase.

Over the next three years in five-cent increments, the rate will go from $1.10 to $1.25 per a thousand gallons.

Fry said he would give options Monday on how the water department can solve the low water pressure issue in the Farewell community.

Fire Chief Chris Trask asked council members about re-paving the fire department parking lot. Alderman Mike Miller suggested concreting the lot to avoid having to re-pave the property in the "next few years."

Also to be discussed at Monday's meeting is a conflict about dispatch fees between the city of Green Forest and the county, and Assistant Treasurer Sandra Russell will address the council about deposits in the train depot community room account.

The meeting will be held Aug. 13 at 7 p.m. in city hall.

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