Cat house and EDOC topics of discussion at City Council
At the very beginning of the Cameron City Council meeting on Monday October 2, Councilman L. Corey Sloan asked for a moment of silence to remember the victims, emergency crews and hospital professionals affected by the tragedy in Las Vegas.
The first item on the City agenda was the discussion of the cat house shelter. As the discussion began Mayor Breckenridge asked duplicate speeches be kept to a minimum and asked those in attendance in agreement with the speaker stand or raise their hand to show their agreement. Many citizens stepped forward to express their opinion about the cat shelter, stating it should not be moved and their issues with the use of a gas chamber in the city shelter being used to euthanize cats. The city, via Manager Mark Gaugh, maintained the gas chamber has not been used since April of this year and is not currently in operation. The city also maintained the cat house cannot be operated on city land without an active lease and insurance.
Georgia Drager, operator of GiGi’s Purrs and Pawz, who has been occupying the cat shelter stepped forward to present to the city council the insurance policy on the shelter and explained she and Sue Manion of Safehaven had not been presented with an accurate lease.
All the members of the city council expressed their love of animals and their desire to see many of the animal control issues addressed in Cameron, but also agreed with the fact the business cannot be operated on city land without a signed lease. Drager agreed to cease operations of the shelter until it can be moved. The City Council voted to give Drager a total of ninety days to move the structure, with the option to come back to the City Council should she need more time.
Terry Rumrey of Rumrey and Associates was before the council during the city managers report to offer information on ongoing projects coming to Cameron. There are several projects still looking at Cameron as a potential location for their businesses, but they are still in the beginning stages. Progress is being made on the property on 36 across from the Jones travel center.
After Rumrey’s report, Pam Ice and Mike O’Donnell came before the Council for the first reading of Bill 2017-33 which is an agreement between the City of Cameron and Economic Development of Cameron (EDOC) for an investment in EDOC of $3,000 a month. During the discussion, the council was presented with the fact of when Cameron had an economic development director it cost the city over $100,000 a year for their salary and the monies the city contributes to EDOC goes not only for the fees paid to a consulting firm, but also for meals provided to prospective businesses who come to town, and other expenses incurred by hosting those businesses. Members of the Council had questions about how much business Rumrey and Associates have brought to town since they have been involved, the answer was not many, but Ice and O’Donnell explained to the council, prior to the purchase of the land the city recently made, there was not much for Rumrey to use to market. The question was also raised about the fact that Cameron is not the only community Rumrey represents, Ice and O’Donnell once again spoke up telling the council they have personally witnessed many instances Rumrey has marketed Cameron effectively and efficiently.
Councilman Sloan said to O’Donnell, “We’ve been through a lot and we have done a lot of good over the years. My question is this, if I vote favor of keeping Mr. Rumrey and partnering with EDOC, am I going to regret it in a year.”
“No, you’re not,” O’Donnell said. He went on to say if he felt as if there was anything wrong, he would be the first one to vote against it. To which Sloan agreed. “I feel like EDOC, our consulting firm we have hired is very solid in doing their due diligence.”
The Council voted to approve the bill with three in favor and two opposed. Mayor Breckenridge and Councilman John Feighert were both opposed. During the miscellaneous portion at the end of the meeting, both Breckendridge and Feighert directed their comments to Rumrey and asked them to prove them wrong, they both said they will be happy to be wrong and see more business be brought to Cameron.
During the City Managers report, Gaugh told the city if they wished to add to the holiday lights, this was the time to make the decision. The council voted to spend up to $5,000 for additional lights. Gaugh reported the Parks Department had their open house on Thursday September 21 for citizens to view the Parks Master plan. The master plan when finalized will be presented to the council. Police Chief Rick Bashor and Gaugh will be meeting with DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department to continue discussions about dispatching services and attempting to work out a plan which will be a win-win for both.
Other business before the council included a bill for an agreement with Keller Construction for the 2017 asphalt street project and a bill authorizing a change in the zoning of property owned by Holiday Properties from a residential district to a general commercial district. Both measures were passed unanimously.