After several months of discussion and revision, the City Commission finally approved their revised Animal Control Ordinance during Monday night's meeting.
During public comment preceding the meeting, several audience members voiced concerns they had with some of the proposed details of the ordinance. Two of the common details mentioned concerned restraining animals (fence or chain) and noise/barking definitions.
During the meeting, discussion of the ordinance focused on making sure that it was clear enough that violations would be easy to identify. City Administrator Brian Boudreaux explained that complaintants can not simply call to complain; but, must file an affidavit at the city office detailing their complaint.
There was a good deal of discussion by the commission, and the public, about the definition of "at large" animals. Animal Control Officer Barbie McGowan explained that, according to the state, it is an animal for whom no clearly identified owner exists, nor for whom anyone has taken responsibility.
Commissioner Anna Velez moved to accept the ordinance, with an enhanced definition of "at large," detailed information on nuisance barking hours and duration (10:00 p.m. till 6:00 a.m.; 10 minutes), and specific citation references to state law. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bob Vacek.
Commissioners Velez and Vacek, along with Mayor Brent Hinckley, voted for the motion. Commissioner William Beaty voted against.
In other action, the city voted to abandon the undeveloped street from McKinley to Lincoln, crossing Garfield, and to establish an easement on that same path to Westmoreland for city utilities. The street that is abandoned will revert to the adjacent landowners. Those individuals paid for the surveys to effect the abandonment.
The easement for the city will allow the new water lines to travel directly south from Lincoln Street, avoiding the cost of going all the way to Avenue F then turning south. Those survey costs were borne by the City.
The Commission also voted to cancel the May 9 General Election, as there were no opposed races for either the District 2 or District 4 seats. Commissioners Anna Velez and William Beaty, respectively, will retain those seats. The Special Election scheduled for May 9 will still be held, as there are two candidates for that position: John Schafft and Jared Carter.
The Commission voted to limit rental of the Dance Slab, Community Building or Pavilion to once every three months. This was in response to a concern voiced at a prior meeting that a business was renting the Community Building once or twice per month, preventing others from using it for their events.
The Commission also approved the interlocal agreement with Mason County for sharing of law enforcement services. The two entities had still been operating under the original agreement from 1998 when the City folded their police department into the County Sheriff's office.
The meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m.