As of Tuesday, November 11, 2014
GRANGEVILLE — “From day one I have not been in favor of changing the ordinance,” said Grangeville City Councilor Wes Lester. “I say to leave it alone.”
And the council did last Monday, Nov 3, in failing to advance an animal control ordinance change regarding cat licensing to even a first reading. So the status quo remains: Cats will be licensed within city limits.
Mayor Bruce Walker called the matter to a head – frustrated having talked about the matter for two months, “and getting nowhere” — and asked for each councilor’s comment before pressing this body to make a motion to put the proposed ordinance change up for a first reading and possible adoption, or move on and leave the ordinance unchanged.
At issue was a proposal to remove requirements for cats to be licensed in the city, a change made by citizen request earlier this summer due to issues of it being impractical and not cost-effective. Public comment raised at an Oct. 20 meeting weighed in favor of keeping the license requirement for concerns of both animal safety and public nuisance. City police stated the change would allow more flexibility in handling citizen complaints regarding cats.
Council consensus Monday night let the proposal die on the table. Leading up to this were comments that the ordinance change still was a matter of some confusion as to how problem and/or impounded cats would be handled under the change, and what – if anything – this did to improve city animal control efforts.
Councilor Scott Winkler brought up citizen concern – and his — the change put cats into the “all other animals” category regarding disposal, which raised whether this may entail killing the animal. After reviewing the proposed change, Councilor Beryl Grant opted to leave ordinance alone as “I don’t think this is gaining us anything.”
Looking for possible tweaks to the proposal, Councilor Shelley Dumas proposed a change of just taking cat licensing fees out of the ordinance. Councilor Pete Lane noted he was contacted by a resident supporting licensing so that impounded cats could be easily returned to owners; he agreed with this but he also proposed modifying the change to allow for voluntary registration of cats.
In other city business:
Council discussed the issue of building permit requirements for projects meeting the criteria, emphasizing there is “no discretion” in the ordinance for imposing a double-fee penalty for those who fail to obtain one.
A city committee will work with Public Works Director Jeff McFrederick on reviewing bulk water rates for a possible increase prior to the next budget. At issue is the current rates are below cost by approximately 50 percent in comparison to those paid by users tied into the system. Existing city bulk water rates are approximately $3 per thousand gallons, and the estimate was this should be increased to around $15 to meet actual costs.