City Bans Bath Salts

ST. MARYS — The city of St. Marys became the second municipality in Auglaize County and the latest across the region to ban the sale and possession of synthetic drugs marketed as bath salts.

During their meeting Monday night, members of the St. Marys City Council approved, under suspension of rules, an emergency ordinance banning sale, possession and manufacture of the synthetic drug that has dominated the news in recent months. The substance, marketed as bath salts, often contains chemical compounds that resemble cocaine and LSD.

“I think the police chief has made it known that he does believe this is an emergency,” City Law Director Kraig Noble said. “This would outlaw the sale in the city of St. Marys. The health effects of this are detrimental. There have been several cases where officers have confronted people who are addicted to this. It’s really a troublesome situation.”

Abusers of the product, which is sold in powder or crystal forms, is often snorted or smoked. It often makes users paranoid and hallucinate — which can make them difficult to deal with if encountered by law enforcement officials. There have been recent cases ranging from Wapakoneta to Celina of individuals believed to have been abusing bath salts — including an incident where a man jumped out of an ambulance while en route to a Lima hospital.

The ban does not cover actual bath salts, which include Epsom salts and other therapeutic products. The products that are included in the ban are simply marketed as bath salts.

A provision to ban the products statewide is included in the proposed state budget. However the city ban takes effect immediately.

The village of New Bremen became the first entity in Auglaize County to pass a ban on the products. Since then, the city of Lima also imposed a ban and the city of Wapakoneta has one in the works.

Councilors also approved the, under suspension of rules, an emergency ordinance authorizing Safety-Service Director Tom Hitchcock to enter into a power sales contract agreement regarding the Fremont Energy Center. Marc Gerken, president and CEO of AMP, gave a presentation for councilors regarding the facility. The plant would provide 8 megawatts of intermediate power to the city. By obtaining the intermediate power, the city would not have to buy power off the open energy market when its power needs peak. The plant is scheduled to go online Jan. 1 with approximately 85 to 90 AMP members on board.

Councilors also heard concerns from a pair of residents who live on Beech Street regarding the possibility of the city installing a privacy fence around a city soccer field being put in place in their neighborhood. Councilors tasked Hitchcock with developing a list of options and costs of types of fences to bring to the next council meeting. Hitchcock told the resident he intended to build a chain-linked fence surrounding the field.

In other business, councilors:

• Approved the third and final reading of an ordinance authorizing the trade in of a street sweeper.

• Approved, under suspension of rules, an emergency ordinance authorizing a transfer into the drug law enforcement fund.

• Approved, under suspension of rules, an emergency resolution authorizing the sale of beer at K.C. Geiger Park during SummerFest.

• Approved the first reading of a resolution regarding the 2012 budget.

The next meeting of the St. Marys City Council is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 11 at the city building located along East Spring Street.