NEW BREMEN — An area council voted to ban a hallucinogenic substance in its village during its annual meeting Tuesday night.
Members of the New Bremen Village Council approved an ordinance, as an emergency, to “prohibit the use, possession and/or sale of synthetic cannabinoids and other synthetic drugs.”
Councilor John Schwartz reiterated the difference between the substance marketed as bath salts and the personal product of the same name.
“It’s not the kind where you throw it in your tub — they just call it by the same name,” Schwartz said. “This you just snort.”
Mayor Jeff Pape noted New Bremen Police Chief Doug Harrod brought up the issue — which has prompted cases statewide — to his attention.
“When chief brought it to my attention, I thought, what if some older person that wants to have a bath with bath salts — how do they differentiate that,” Pape asked, adding Harrod told him the difference between bath salts for a bath and bath salts the drug lies in the chemical compounds. “I think this is the right thing to do, but I don’t want to fall into the trap where an older person can’t buy bath salts.”
Village Solicitor Steve Smith noted the possibly dangerous consequences to the drug.
“When an individual gets under the influence of these particular drugs, they’re extremely dangerous,” he said. “Because of that, we’re hoping to do this for the safety of our residents.”
A violation of the ordinance, which councilors passed after discussion, would be a first-degree misdemeanor, which could mean up to six months in jail, Smith said.
“We’re trying to stop a situation that has snowballed throughout the state,” Smith said. “Because of the dangers of people who use this — not only the people who use them but the people around them — we need to protect our populous.”
He noted there could be a possible state or federal law concerning the bath salts in the future, and communities have since taken it upon themselves to pass similar ordinances.
“The local entities are saying we need to do something right away,” Smith said.
Harrod noted the village of New Bremen has had “no real problems so far” in relation to the bath salts.
“We’re trying to be proactive and taking care of a problem before it gets started,” he said.
In his report to council, Pape also noted the village will be holding a severe weather meeting at 7 p.m. June 20 in the meeting room at the village office. He added he was pleased with the turnout at the Coffee with Administration event held Saturday, and the next event will be at 9 a.m. July 9 with Council President Don Kuck at New Bremen Coffee Co. and Books Inc. Pape also congratulated Councilor Delores Stienecker, who was named the grand marshal for the 2011 Bremenfest Parade.
Fiscal Officer Diane Gast also noted the village is currently accepting petitions for the November ballot. There will be two council positions and the mayor position up on the ballot. Gast said petitions are available at the municipal center, as well as the Auglaize County Board of Elections.
In other business, councilors:
• Heard from Deb Foos with Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
Foos said she hoped to generate awareness for the 55 children in Auglaize, Mercer and Van Wert counties who are in need of mentors.
• Discussed the Alltel communication antenna.
• Approved the purchase of new council chamber furniture.
• Passed a resolution to accept the bids and award the contract for Bear Drive.
• Passed a resolution to accept the bids and award the contract for the resurfacing of parts of five streets.
• Passed, as an emergency, an ordinance rejecting a warranty deed — noting they do not accept the deed, haven’t accepted it and the person who still owns the property and is responsible for maintaining it. The property is Lot No. 5 in the Teton Subdivision and contains a retention pond.
• Passed, as an emergency, an ordinance to accept the resignation of Karen Mauch as economic development director and to appoint Angela Hamberg economic development director, effective Friday.
• Had the second reading of a resolution authorizing the village administrator to move the water shut off at 525-529 S. Walnut St. into the right-of-way.
• Had the second reading of a policy ordinance establishing water shut off valves only permitted in the right-of-way.
Village councilors entered into executive session to discuss real estate and personnel relating to an employee’s retirement.
No action was taken when they reconvened into regular session.
The next meeting of the New Bremen Village Council will be at 6:30 p.m. June 28 at the municipal center.