MURPHYSBORO — It's official: Any people found fighting in the city limits of Murphysboro will be charged with an ordinance violation — even if they both agree to the fight.
The Murphysboro City Council voted 6 to 0 to approve the change to city ordinance. Four council members were absent, all due to illness.
City Attorney Heller said the issue arose after two men cited for fighting went to court. One man said he and the other fellow agreed to the fight. The other man, who appeared in court after the first, apparently disputed the allegation, saying the first man assaulted him.
The council also revisited an issue from its last meeting, a dispute with a fence on Division Street, which one resident claimed her neighbors installed on her property.
At the last meeting, the council decided to send a letter to the people who installed the fence, Greg and Candace Jacobs, telling them that they had violated the city zoning by not following the requirements for putting in the fence.
Council members said the Jacobs' neighbor, Francis Weber, had provided survey information that evidenced the Jacobs had encroached on her property.
Council members discussed whether it was within their purview to order the Jacobs to take down the fence and discussed how often they might fine the property owners for every day they did not comply with the council's request.
Alderman Herby Voss wondered about a measure put in place to encourage them to take down the fence.
"(They and others might theorize) 'I've done the calculations, and it's worth 300 bucks or more to me — or whatever that figure is,'" Voss said. " … 'If I can garner a few more feet of space, I'm just going to thumb my nose at procedure …'
"I concur with the mayor's point, that we should seek civil action," Voss said.
Attorney Heller told council members that per city city ordinance, they could pursue civil action to have the property owner take down the fence.
Council members and others present also met the two newest members of the Murphysboro Police Department: Police Chief Chad Roberts introduced new officers Chase Rednour, who just finished the police academy, and Joseph Maeser, an officer with 10 years experience, including detective work.