Officials in doghouse over shelter location
Whether or not to locate a dog shelter inside city limits was a hot topic of discussion at Monday night's regular meeting of the Marked Tree City Council. Mayor Dixon Chandler proposed the city place a newly constructed 36' x 36' structure to house stray dogs on Division Street.
Chandler said the shelter will have six, six foot pens on a concrete slab with sewer drains.
"It was be surrounded by corrugated metal and is going to be about 50 to 75 yards from the nearest neighbor," Chandler said. "I've talked to the Humane Society and it meets their standards. I think it's going to be better for the city in the long run and better than what we had in the past."
"My concern is over the residents and whether or not this is going to bother them," said alderman Michael Scott.
"Well, stray dogs are bothering residents," Chandler said.
Alderman Waylon Dunn asked about locating the shelter near the sewage ponds which are outside city limits, but Chandler said he thought the distance from town would cost the city in time and convenience.
"I think this is a good plan," Chandler said.
Upon the council's request, Chandler opened the floor to residents of the neighborhood to voice their opinions.
"I'm really opposed to this if there is another solution," said Judy Baney. "I'm a citizen and have lived here all my life, and I'm against this."
Baney, along with resident Berlin "Junior" Owens said they didn't want the noise of the dogs barking to disturb their peace and quiet.
"You wouldn't want it next to your house Mayor," Owens said.
"No, you're right," Chandler said. "I wouldn't want it by my house either. But this is convenient and this is property the city owns."
"I think it's wrong to put a pound in a neighborhood," Alderman Cleo Johnson, Jr. said. "I don't think it should be in town."
Alderman Danny Johnson, who was sworn in Monday night, pointed out that Marion has their dog pound in the city next to apartments.
"I'm sure they get a lot more dogs there than we do," Johnson said.
Chandler suggested placing a privacy fence around the shelter, but Owens said that wouldn't help with the barking.
After more discussion, Cleo Johnson made a motion that the shelter be built next to the sewer ponds. If that wasn't possible because of limited space of environmental regulations, he suggested the city check into buying land located near the city's limb pile. The land is currently owned by Ritter.
The motion passed unanimously.
In other business the council heard from Tony Davis of Cameron Construction of Jonesboro. Davis was invited to present a street repair and maintenance plan to the city. Davis' plan, which comes with a price tag of $575,000, outlines streets that are in serious need of repair.
"You have 2 miles of street that need to be fully or partially overlaid and a half of mile of streets that need to be completely restructured," Davis told the council.
Davis also identified 8,000 square yards of street sections in need of spot repair.
Davis said good drainage is a key element to street maintenance, but with these repairs street overlays can last anywhere from three to five years.
"A half a million dollars is what we need," Chandler said. "Will look into funding, but I don't know if any is out there."
Chandler said the plan provided by Davis will help the city prioritize their repair needs.
In other business the council:
*Accepted a bid from Gillis Construction for construction work at the new sports and recreation complex. Shannon Key Construction was the lowest bidder at the time of the opening, but the council was encouraged to reject the bid because part of the bid paperwork was not filled out correctly.
"The bid was very close and I appreciate everyone bidding," Chandler said. "Because Shannon Key left off part of question number 12 it is not a responsive bid and it should be thrown out."
Shannon Key representative Rick Miles said the omission was simply an oversight that wouldn't affect the price of the bid, but project manager Kelly Panneck said the contract documents require declare the bid incomplete and not eligible for approval.
The council voted unanimously to accept Gillis' bid which was the only remaining bid.
*Passed an ordinance to revise the 2008 budget.
*Approved the financial statements and committee reports.