Ordinance enforcement is ordering "Baker Bob" back to the kitchen.
For a number of years, ordinances in the City of Brazil have gone without regulation, but are now being routinely enforced.
"The original ordinance was passed in 1931, and it was the first time it had been amended since," she said. "The problem was, like many other ordinances, it was never truly enforced."
Making sure all ordinances were being enforced is part of Brazil Mayor Ann Bradshaw's plan to help clean up the city.
"When I was on the council, it got real aggravating to see new ordinances being passed and none of them enforced," Bradshaw said. "All we are doing is ensuring the city is abiding by what it has set instead of letting everything slide."
However, the sign ordinance has become a point of frustration for local business owners. It prohibits any sign constructed as a "standard outdoor advertising structure or billboard."
This includes the well-known "Baker Bob," which stands just outside the door of Goodies Galore, along with other easel-style signs sitting outside of Brazil businesses.
In an e-mail to The Brazil Times, Mary Fisher vented her frustration over having to take "Baker Bob" inside.
"I paid $600 (my complete advertising budget) for my statue and now they are telling me I can't use him!" she said. "He holds the sign to let people know what's on the lunch menu each day. I have had several people from out of town say they specifically drove to Brazil to see "Baker Bob."
Altman appreciates the statue's effectiveness of bringing people in from out of town, but knows the city needs to enforce its own rules.
"I believe 'Baker Bob' is a good sign, but it is prohibited under our current ordinance," Altman said.
Under the terms of the ordinance, those found in violation have 10 days to become compliant before a fine of $500 per day is levied.
However, the city is choosing to be a little more lenient until changes can be made to the ordinance.
"It is way too restrictive," Altman said. "Because of this, we are going to have a joint work session for both the council and plan commission to discuss potential changes."
However, for changes to be enacted, the Common Council of the City of Brazil will have to approve modifications before a new ordinance can go into effect.
"We can always call a special meeting, for the public to also attend, and suspend the rules to pass it immediately to get the process rolling," Bradshaw said.
Even so, some of the business owners are against restrictive sign ordinances.
"I think it is a ridiculous ordinance," Sherry Wilkinson of Old Fashioned Jewelry said, wanting the April 17th work session to temper the hard-handed position of the city. "I hope common sense will prevail."
Businesses can apply for a permit allowing them to put out their additional signs for a maximum of 30 days each year, or a variance allowing them to legally stray from the restrictions of the ordinance.
"A variance application has to be approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals, which is the official appeals board for the city," Altman said.
Long-established Allstate Insurance Representative Ted Paris said he knew about the ordinance when he first put his sign out, and has had a permit for several years.
"I think there needs to be an ordinance, you do not want anyone being able to put signs out," Paris said, stating business owners need to take into consideration that signs may create a hazard if blown away by wind gusts.
While adamant about the city needing to help businesses, Rick Bell, owner of Traditions and Pappy's Bar-B-Que, also recognizes the need for the ordinance.
"Businesses are struggling right now and they need help, not hindrances. I'm not crazy about them enforcing it," he said. "But I understand because you don't want people tripping over signs on the sidewalks."
Brazil City Reserve Police Officer Eric Vanatti, who assists with code enforcement, told The Brazil Times it is important to stick to the ordinances in order to improve the city.
"Residents complain about the way the city looks, and all we are doing is trying to make it better," he said. "We are working on enforcing other ordinances as well so help beautify Brazil."
Bradshaw said the city has invited business owners who have called City Hall to complain about the ordinance to the work session.
"We want them to tell us what they find wrong with the current ordinance so we can improve it," she said.
Altman echoed the mayor's sentiments.
"We always encourage the public to attend our meetings," she said. "It is easier to serve the best interest of the city's residents and businesses when they voice their opinions."
All ordinances can be viewed on the City of Brazil web site, at www.brazil.in.gov, under the "City Ordinances" heading.
The joint work session is scheduled for Thursday, April 17, at 6 p.m., in the Council Chambers of City Hall.