City Council continues animal shelter discussion
On Monday May 7, the Cameron City Council once again took on the discussion the animal shelter with Quentin Lovejoy presenting the Council with some options for a prefabricated structure. Lovejoy had been a part of the public/private working group who had been asked by the council to address the issue of an animal shelter and come up with information and costs. The working group came back with recommendations for the building of a new structure, which Lovejoy disagreed with and Lovejoy offered to do more research on other options with the blessing of the council.
Lovejoy showed the council a power point presentation of prefabricated structures he had found done by a company in Pennsylvania, called Horizon Structures, who has been in business since the 70’s and who, according to Lovejoy, specializes in horse barns, chicken coops, dog kennels and catteries (cat houses). The company is familiar and has worked with all levels of government. There are many concepts available and the city would be able to customize the design to their liking. Lovejoy worked with David Martin who owns and runs a kennel to work on upgrades and improvements to the structure to attempt to fulfill the city’s needs and the state’s requirements. The total costs for the prefabricated structure they designed, including delivery and installation was $136,118. According to Lovejoy, from the time 50% of the costs are put down to delivery is approximately 6-8 weeks. The structure will need to be put on a concrete or rock pad. The facility can serve as a pound, a shelter or a rescue, whichever the city decides. The council directed City Staff to look into the feasibility and longevity of the structures and to plan to come back to the Council at the next meeting with information and a resolution for the Council to vote on.
There was some discussion about whether or not the city is a shelter or a rescue and if they are to be adopting animals out. Council member Becky Curtis once again mentioned in the city ordinance the city has been specified as an adoption shelter, but said the city doesn’t do that.
Tim Wymes, Director of Economic Development, stepped before the Council to clarify that technically the city does adopt out animals, but it is done through the Puppies for Parole program at the prison. Wymes expressed his opinion that the program at the prison was the best option for adopting animals out by the city because dogs placed in the program are not offered for adoption until they have completed the program and it gives more assurances that the dogs being adopted are well trained and being matched with a family that will be the best fit, both for the animal and the family.
Mayor Darlene Breckenridge said the rescue/shelter discussion needed to wait until another time.
During new business, Zac Johnson, Director of Utilities came before the Council to discussion a bill to hire an engineering service for three expansion projects – including water and wastewater extensions to the industrial park and a wastewater expansion to Bob F. Grffin Road. The costs of hiring the engineering firm would be about $147,010 and the project itself, which would be budgeted in the next fiscal year would be about $897,000. Councilman John Feighert said the city is once again looking to spend more money on the industrial park, with almost a million dollars with this project and another 20-30 million before it is built. Feighert said until he starts to see how the industrial park will “blossom” he is not inclined to spend the money.
Johnson explained this was the engineering phase and more votes would need to come before the project itself could begin.
Curtis asked how the project would be funded and Johnson said it was not accounted for in this year’s budget, but could be in next years out of existing funds.
Johnson also informed the city that the business park is within the city limits and the city has an obligation to provide services to it.
Councilman L. Corey Sloan said the city owns the business park and the city has to spend money to make money, the city needs to have the infrastructure in place.
Manager Gaugh said e trucking is looking to need a bigger building sooner rather than later and will need the infrastructure in place to build the bigger building.
The Bill failed with a 3-2 vote – Breckenridge, Feighert, and Curtis opposed, Sloan and Clark in favor.
Johnson was before the Council again with a Resolution concerning a water shortage alert for the city. There was some discussion that the Council could wait and see if the rain predicted was enough to not need the alert, but it may yet be needed even if the Council decides not to vote on it at this meeting. Johnson left it up to the Council to make the decision. The Council voted unanimously to approve the declaration of a Water Shortage Alert. (For more information on what this alert restricts, see the article beginning on the front page of this paper.)
Drew Bontrager Public Works Director, was before the City Council to discuss two bills concerning the East Prospect Street project. There were some questions about the amount of compensation one home owner was receiving in regards to the project and Bontrager explained that particular home owner was only receiving that amount because they would have a complete loss of a driveway and thus would lose access to their property. So the city was compensating them an amount that would assist them in constructing a new driveway on the backside of their property and still supply access. Both bills were passed unanimously.
During the public participation portion of the meeting a citizen with rental property on Bryan Road expressed his dismay at the problems he has encountered with his neighbors maintaining their property. The gentleman said he has reached out to his neighbors many times in an interest in coming to an amicable solution, but the neighbors have been unwilling. The citizen also expressed his disappointment that his requests for action by the city have gone unanswered. He said he was now before the City Council and provided them with photos in an attempt to get something done.
Jim McKinley also stepped before the Council to once again address city codes. McKinley stated the city staff tried to “slip through” a code change on parking on hard surfaces in kind of an emergency basis (according to McKinley) and there should be no such thing in codes and ordinances. McKinley said there are far more important and pressing problems the city should be addressing in the city than worrying about whether or not there is grass growing in a driveway.
During the City Manager’s report, Mark Gaugh informed the Council that the Prospect Street project is out for bid until May 24 and commercial projects such as the Chungs expansion and the Jones Travel Center are proceeding according to schedule.
Other business before the City Council included Second and Final readings on a bill to approve the Dollar Tree Store within a CM-P district, a bill authorizing the city to enter into a contract with CP excavating for the West Prospect Streetscape project and a resolution authorizing the city to accept a quit claim deed from Johnny and Donna Feighert. All were approved.
The Council took up first readings on bills to authorize the city to enter into a professional services agreement with HDR for design of water distribution and sewer collection extensions and a first reading on a bill to repeal sections of the interments ordinance and replace them. Both were approved.
A Resolution to designate an official representative and alternate representative to the Board of Directors of the Great Northwest Wholesale Water Commission was before the Council. The representative position was previously held by former Council member Ronnie Jack. Council member Becky Curtis expressed her willingness to take on the position and told the Council she had already been attending the meetings and was informed of most of what was going on. Manager Mark Gaugh retained his position as alternate.
A resolution to accept quit claim deeds in favor of the city of Cameron from Matthew D. Hahn and Cherisse Steiner was passed unanimously.
The final pieces of business before the council were Liquor License Renewals and an appointment to the TIF Commission. The licenses were approved unanimously and Clerk Shellie Blades told the Council there would be more to approve on the next agenda who simply did not have their information submitted in time to be on the list to approve. The TIF Commission vacancy was advertised and only one application was received from Quentin Lovejoy. Lovejoys appointment was approved unanimously.
During the miscellaneous portion of the meeting Drew Bontrager told the Council the dog park has opened and anyone wishing to use the park (which is open to both city residents and non-city residents) are welcome to purchase a special tag at City Hall.
The issue of large trash was addressed by several members of the Council who all said they had received calls about it and wanted the citizens to know they will be looking into solutions.
The next meeting of the City Council will be Monday May 21 at 6 p.m.