Lockport will continue to list underage possession as well as the purchase and sale of tobacco products and e-cigarettes as a violation under a proposed amendment to its current ordinance, which will raise the legal age from 18 to 21.
The ordinance is being amended to reflect the change in state law last month and will go into effect July 1, City Attorney Sonni Williams said at Wednesday night’s City Council meeting. While state law prohibits the sale and purchase of cigarettes for those younger than 21, it eliminates penalties for underage possession.
Underage possession in Lockport will continue to be illegal with an administrative fine of $100, Police Chief Terry Lemming said. Lockport is a home-rule municipality. Alderwoman Catherine Perretta asked how police would handle cases of underage smoking because she didn’t think “someone who (was 20 and) has been smoking for two years can just quit.”
Lemming said Lockport police have not encountered many cases of underage smoking, even when the legal age was 18, because there “are not a lot of smokers these days.”
“It’s not like it was 25 years ago,” he said.
Officers will continue to check on businesses selling these products by sending minors into their shops to see if they can purchase tobacco or e-cigarettes, but this has not been a big issue in the past either, Lemming said. He said if officers do see smokers who “are obviously under 21,” they will have to ticket them. The proposed changes are expected to be approved as part of the City Council’s consent agenda at its May 15 meeting.
Other Council business
Council members Wednesday night approved a $228,022 contract with Misfits Construction Company for work to stabilize highly eroded parts of Milne Creek.
The project is a small part of a larger study of the almost 18,000-foot creek, which runs from south of Division Street northwest to the I and M Canal and has experienced great erosion over the years, Director of Public Works Brent Cann said.
According to a study commissioned by the city just over two years ago, the cost to stabilize the creek, to make it safer and recover property loss, would be about $10 million. That project would include stabilizing the bank, cleaning debris, shoring up the village and some residents’ properties, and creating new crossings.
“This creek used to be something you could literally walk across,” Cann said.
Because of the cost, the project is not currently on the budget.