Mayor kicks cat discussion down the road

By RICK MORAIN

For The Jefferson Herald

Jefferson’s city government officials continued their discussion Jan. 22 of what to do about cats running loose in the city.

As the brief meeting of the city council was ending, Mayor Craig Berry announced that he was directing the police department to work with PAWS — the People for Animal Welfare Society — toward practicing trap-neuter-return (TNR) within the city.

The police department is not staffed to take on the practice by itself, Berry said. He “encourages and challenges” PAWS to work with police on it. 

Berry does not advocate any changes to the current city ordinance regarding cats, which states that, like dogs, they need to be kept on their owner’s property or on a leash. 

Councilmen Harry Ahrenholtz and Dave Sloan are the city council’s police committee. Ahrenholtz replied to Berry’s statement to the effect that he and Sloan are currently discussing the cat situation with the police department. 

TNR is one alternative for dealing with cats, Ahrenholtz said, and there are others as well. He said he and Sloan plan to continue their discussions with police on how to deal with cats.

One of the alternatives is trapping and humanely euthanizing stray cats. 

TNR was presented to the council in December by the Alley Cat Allies group. Euthanasia was presented in January by the director of the Iowa Wildlife Federation. 

The council took no action following either of those suggestions.

On other matters, the council set a date of Feb. 12 at its regular 5:30 p.m. meeting for a public hearing on adoption of the city’s fiscal year 2019-20 budget.

The council also approved the hiring of Cole Jackson as a Jefferson police patrol officer. 

Jackson, from Polk City, holds a bachelor of arts degree from Northwest Oklahoma State. His salary is $41,515 as per the police union contract. He also received a $2,000 hiring bonus and will be eligible for the city’s new practice of payments on his student loans once he is certified.

The council approved the purchase of two blower motors from Iowa Pump Works for the wastewater plant. The plant has three blower motors, and two of them need replacing.

Two hotel/motel tax tourism grants were approved: one for up to $3,000 for the Bell Tower Festival motorcycle event and the other for $2,193 to Jefferson Matters: Main Street for a bronze historical plaque for the downtown.

Ahrenholtz told the council that the cemetery committee will have a recommendation on cemetery charges for the Feb. 12 meeting agenda.

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