Lepanto to add fee for animal control

Friday, March 23, 2012

After holding a public meeting to listen to concerns and ideas regarding how to pay for animal control to take care of the stray dog problem in Lepanto, the city council voted unanimously to pass an ordinance that will add a $1.25 fee to the water bill.

There is already a $1.25 charge for mosquito spraying which generates between $12,000 and $13,000 yearly. The council was concerned about adding an extra fee to the water bill because there will be an increase when the water system repairs begin, which could be next year. However, enough citizens thought it was better to have both mosquito spraying and animal control rather than choose between the two, so the council decided their only choice was to add the fee to pay for both.

The animal control fee will be effective April 1.

The council also discussed the city's contract with Delta Environmental. Mayor Steve Jernigan said most people feel Delta is not providing the service they promised to provide. He noted that section 8 of their contract states the city can terminate the contract at the end of a calendar year with 60 days notice or any time with 10 days notice if either party does not perform its duties.

City Attorney Noyl Houston said that because the company is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, if the city council wants to terminate the contract with a 10-day notice, they might may need to file a bankruptcy court motion for relief from automatic stay. Mayor Jernigan suggested they wait to see what happens with Tyronza, which terminated its contract with Delta with a 10-day notice, and with Caraway, which is having Dedman's Sanitation take over. The council agreed to table the matter, though they did want Delta Environmental to be notified they should set a date for spring cleaning since an annual spring cleaning is in the contract.

Mayor Jernigan also gave an update on the water system repairs, which involve replacing 13,000 feet of galvanized water lines. He said the city has completed three steps of a 25-step process and added the main holdup is that the Census Bureau has not released the new low to moderate income (LMI) numbers.

These numbers determine how much grant money a city is eligible for, and Jernigan thinks that with the new numbers Lepanto will be eligible for more money. He said he thought work could begin on replacing the water lines in a year.

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