Vernon makes revisions to animal ordinance

Vernon city commission members unanimously approved updates to the city’s ordinance concerning animal violations and a revised Drought Contingency Plan during a monthly business meeting Tuesday.
The revisions to the ordinances regarding animal violations, which take effect immediately, require that fencing in back yards or outdoor enclosures where animals are kept be up to standard and not fall into disrepair to prevent them from escaping. The ordinance revisions also set rates for pathological examinations of animals based upon market values by the Wilbarger Humane Society. The ordinance also requires that any domestic animal that is impounded by neutered before it can be reclaimed by an owner or custodian upon receiving three or more convictions for violations within the two-year period immediately preceding the date the owner or custodian of said animal seeks to reclaim it.
The ordinance revisions also included changes to fees levied including first impoundment, increased from $15 to $40; second and subsequent impoundment, increase from $75 to $150; daily care fee, increased from $10 to $20; bite animal, impoundment and observation, 10 days, increased from $100 to $200; and registration of dangerous animal, $100 to $200.
City Manager Marty Mangum said the revisions to the ordinance have been studied by city officials for several months to address problems and complaints regarding stray and loose animals.
The motion to approve the revised animal ordinance was made by Don Aydelott and seconded by Pam Gosline.
Commission members unanimously approved an update to the city’s Drought Contingency Plan. This is to meet a requirement set by the state for the city to revise that plan along with the Water Conservation Plan every four years. The revisions include the use of “Aquifer Static Levels” as a trigger for Stages of Drought. This is considered a more accurate indicator of drought conditions and when the city should reaction. It adds West Acres to the list of wellfields and add West Acres to the official water production capacity number for the city. As part of the plan, the city awarded a $3,750 contract to Scott Swanson to develop the plan for submission to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Texas Water Development Board.
The motion to approve the updated Drought Contingency Plan was made by Justin Marsh and seconded by Britt Ferguson.
Following an executive session on personnel matters to discuss the city manager’s performance, commission members in open session unanimously approved a one-year contract extension for Mangum through April 23, 2023.
Commission members approved a resolution calling for a public hearing to determine whether certain improvements described are dangerous structures. The addresses of potentially dangerous structures are 1502 Stephens, 2611 Massie, 1503 Eagle, 2615 Lexington, 3114 Main, 2300 Sand Road, 2115 Indian, 1405 Canal, 1328 Bowie, 3524 Cumberland, 1403 Mesquite, 1414 Lamar and 1512 Fannin. The motion was made by Marsh and seconded by Aydelott.
In other action, commission members approved:
–The purchase of base material for a Community Development Block Grant project from Freeman Construction on a $10,000 bid.
–A $380,932.75 contract to Freeman Construction for a seal coating project involving 30 blocks of city streets.
–A $150,000 budget amendment for fiscal year 2018-2019 to include a carryover project from the previous year at the city’s lift station.
–Clarification of the city’s personnel manual concerning the practice of granting three weeks or 15 working days’ vacation per year to city directors with no provision for increase due to length of service.
–Consent agenda items including minutes of the March 26 meeting, finance investment report for the month of March and other department reports.
Present at the meeting were Mayor Doug Jeffrey and commission members Aydelott, Ferguson, Gosline, Marsh, City Attorney Jon Whitsitt, Mangum, Public Works Director Darrel Kennon and City Secretary Jo Stone.

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