The Clintonville City Council approved an ordinance that will allow citizens to keep chickens in the city.
The council voted 6-4 at its Tuesday, July 8 meeting, to approve the ordinance. Aldermen Bill Zienert, Phil Rath, John Wilson and Mark Doornink voted no.
During the discussion several council members shared feedback they had received from their constituents.
Doornink said it was difficult to solicit feedback without swaying the opinion one way or the other.
“I tried to do my best at that to try to talk to people about it, just to see what they thought, and I didn’t get any positive feedback,” Doornink said.
Alderwoman Mary Beth Kuester said half her constituents were in favor of the ordinance and half were against it.
“I talked to quite a few people and they don’t want it,” Wilson said. “Eggs are cheap they told me.”
Alderman Greg Rose said his constituents did have some concerns, but overall it was a positive response.
“The thing that I keep going back to on this is that there are a number of other cities that have put this forward. We were able to get ordinances from quite a few other cities on how to do this and I don’t think that there are going to be really all that many citizens in Clintonville that are really going to take us up on this,” Rose said.
He added that the ordinance has specific rules that citizens must follow.
“If they mess up, there’s grounds to have them and their coops removed,” Rose said.
He said if things don’t work out, the ordinance can be removed in the future.
“I think we should give the citizens of our city the benefit of the doubt and give them a shot at doing this,” Rose said.
Alderman Jerry Jorgenson said he agreed with Rose that there are a lot of rules to follow.
“It’s not going to be chickens running around everywhere. They have to be in a pen. There is no slaughtering, no roosters,” Jorgenson said.
Jorgenson said Clintonville’s ordinance would be stricter than ordinances in other cities that allow chickens.
The council also passed a chicken license fee of $20 by a vote of 7-3. Rath, Doornink and Zienert voted no.
Police Chief Terry Lorge updated the council about the K9 position with the department.
He said a little less than a year ago the department lost its K9 when the officer handling the K9 took a position with another agency. After negotiations with the police department and the city, the officer purchased the dog.
Lorge said there is a fund for a K9 unit, and it is in the budget.
“It is my intent to continue with it as soon as we find an officer that was interested in taking this on because it is a huge responsibility,” Lorge said.
The department’s newest hire, Chris Wendorf, has agreed to take on this responsibility, Lorge said.
“This is where he intends to stay and retire,” Lorge said. “He’s indicated he’d like to be our next K9 officer.”
Lorge said he’d like to get everything approved as soon as possible, get the dog here this fall, and start training before the end of the year.
Lorge said he will keep the council updated.
Fire department expense
Doornink told the council Fire Chief Shane Krueger said there are some capital expenses on the horizon to cover gear lockers, uniforms and pagers. Doornink said there is also the possibility the fire department will receive a federal grant for a brush truck in the near future.
“The indications are positive, but we have not been awarded,” Doornink said.
In anticipation of that grant, Doornink said the Finance and Insurance Committee recommended moving $2,750 from 2015 capital to 2014 capital to pay for the local obligation of the grant that could be awarded.
The council unanimously approved the motion.
Area fire departments
Representatives from the town of Matteson and Bear Creek addressed the council about the fire truck purchase and the agreement that was entered into with the towns and the city of Clintonville. They said they were inclined to speak because of the information the representative of the town of Larrabee gave the council at its June meeting.
Both representatives said the process worked well and that the process was not flawed.