The jingle of an ice cream truck
is one of summer’s most unmistakable sounds.
The trucks drive through local
neighborhoods and play music to draw children out of their homes. The first
hint of the sound of Mr. Ding-a-Ling’s truck is enough to cause children in
Malta to come running.
It’s also apparently enough to
send one resident to the town’s Code Enforcement office to file a grievance.
Town Supervisor Paul Sausville
confirmed Wednesday that a woman in the Century Farms development lodged a
formal complaint against the truck earlier this week.
“We get some really unusual
complaints,” Sausville said, though the town “takes all complaints seriously.”
In the complaint, filed Monday, the woman
claims that Mr. Ding-a-Ling’s loud music disrupts the quiet enjoyment of her
home and – most egregiously – wakes her son up from his daily nap.
“Mr. Ding-a-Ling is depriving
our child of adequate rest important for health and development,” the complaint
The town recently adopted a
revised ordinance designed to combat untimely construction noise, though it
also regulates the decibel levels. Sounds can’t exceed 60 decibels during the
day and 50 at night.
Ordinary conversation is about
60 decibels, so surely an ice cream truck’s music must represent some kind of violation.
The only way to know for sure,
Building and Planning Director Anthony Tozzi said, would have been to have a code
enforcement officer stand in the ice cream line with a decibel meter in his
“We just called Mr. Ding-a-Ling
and explained he may be in violation,” Tozzi said, adding that the vendor
agreed to turn down the music when entering that neighborhood.
Tozzi, though, noted that the
loud music can actually be a safety device. It’s not exempt from the ordinance,
he said, but the speaker notifies motorists that children are likely in the
“You just can’t please everybody,”
As far as the town is concerned,
the situation is resolved. Sausville said 99 percent of complaints are resolved
without the town issuing a citation, as most folks simply want to be a good
Had the town issued him a citation,
though, Tozzi said the ice cream man could have wound up paying a $500 fine.
That’s a lot of Klondike bars. If the judge was feeling particularly strict, he
could have also sent the defendant in People v. Ding-a-Ling to jail.
“If we told him he couldn’t
operate in Malta, we’d have 1,000 people come out with pitchforks,” Tozzi said.
Until next time,
Labels: Malta, Random