MOUNT AIRY — The party's over for public drinkers in this South Carroll town.
Concern about the quaffing of alcoholic beverages by summertime usersof Mount Airy parks led the Town Council to pass a public drinking law on Monday.
"The concern has basically been in the parks," Mayor Gerald R. Johnson Jr. said.
"We want to curtail it before it becomes more of aproblem," he said.
The new law prohibits people from consuming alcoholic beverages and carrying open containers of such drinks on public property, the mayor said.
The measure also prohibits public intoxication.
Violators of the misdemeanor face a fine of up to $500.
It's not the first time the town has enacted a public drinking law. Years ago, Mount Airy had such a measure on the books.
But in 1985, during an upgrading of the town code, the law unexplainably was left by the wayside.
No one in town government seems to know exactly why the law was left out, the mayor said.
However the oversighthas since left police who patrol the town powerless to deal with public drinkers.
"The troopers couldn't do what they had to do the way the laws were written before," said 1st Sgt. Steven C. Reynolds, a Maryland State Police spokesman.
Mount Airy, which does not have its own police force, is served by four members of the state police resident trooper program.
Recently the troopers, mindful of increased drinking in Mount Airy parks and other public properties, approached town administrators and requested that the drinking measure be reinstated.
"Everybody seems happy with it," Reynolds said Friday.
"The troopers told the town what they needed to do their job, and thetown went ahead and did it," he said.
The resolution, passed during the council's regular monthly meeting, basically is an adoption ofstate regulations on public drinking, said Town Attorney Charles O. Fischer Sr.
The council dubbed the measure "emergency legislation," allowing the group to both introduce and pass the resolution duringthe same meeting.
Normally the council must introduce a resolution at one meeting, and wait until the next of the regular monthly sessions to act on it.