Projects under way; animals debated
Last updated 11/19/2018 at 7:43pm
Normally, the Odessa Town Council would have met on Tuesday, since Monday was a designated holiday, Veterans Day. Consultation with council members revealed, however, that no quorum would be achieved on Tuesday. Therefore, the meeting was held Monday with all council members present, along with several members of the public intent on hearing the council's decision regarding pets or livestock inside the town limits.
The town's engineering firm, Century West Engineering, had two of its representatives attend the meeting to provide updates on the municipal airport upgrades and resurfacing of many town streets with repair and/or replacement of sewer/water lines beneath those same streets.
Steve Nelson from the Spokane office of Century West reported that letters requesting the release of funding to the town had met with favorable responses. Surveying crews were to begin work Tuesday, November 13, followed by a break for the Thanksgiving holiday and a resumption of work on November 26.
Kurt Addicott from Century West's Snohomish office reported on the airport project. He has been pressing the contractor responsible for grading and other ground work to finish the job before soil conditions deteriorate. He said he had worked successfully in the past with the same contractor and felt confidant that the work would be completed. The contractor also agreed to haul away a pile of leftover asphalt that had been left at the end of the runway and was a cause of concern to airport manager Stan Dammel.
Pets and livestock
Town attorney Mark DeWulf attended Monday evening to answer questions that have arisen at recent council meetings pertaining to the town's options for dealing with animals (pets and/or livestock) within the town limits. He stated that municipalities have the authority to pass laws not in conflict with state legislation or the state constitution.
According to an existing Odessa ordinance on zoning, the keeping of four or more dogs or cats constitutes a "kennel" and is permitted only in commercial or industrial zones, not in residential zones. Variances cannot be granted for anything prohibited by law or ordinance and may not be used to grant special privileges.
Grandfathering is another term that came up in prior meetings. DeWulf said that the term is used when a use predates a given law. Once a law is passed that makes such use illegal, uses that were legal prior to the passage of the new law are "grandfathered" in and allowed to continue. However, no new uses are allowed to exist.
DeWulf also addressed the issue of "service" animals, which are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and mostly involves dogs trained to do specific tasks for a disabled person. "Comfort" animals, on the other hand, are different, DeWulf said, and the laws governing their use seems to be evolving.
Marcus Horak had the floor after DeWulf and offered the assistance of a citizens' committee to help the council members with research and decision-making regarding animal issues. He requested that the council not make a final decision until the committee can meet and come up with potential solutions.
Apparently a majority of the council agreed, because a motion by Vickie Iverson to allow one spayed or neutered rabbit to be kept as a pet in one household failed for want of a second.
The council passed Ordinance 698 raising the rates charged for garbage pickup, following a rate increase by the Ephrata company that provides the service, and Ordinance 700 amending the nuisance ordinance by changing the term "howling" dogs to "barking" dogs and defining how to file a complaint.
Chief Tom Clark reported that seven pounds of prescription medications were turned in to his office by Odessa citizens on the official take-back day. Clark reminds citizens that they can call his office at 982-0141 at any time to make arrangements to drop off leftover prescription meds at the station for safe disposal.
Clark also reported that the town will begin removing from Odessa's streets any vehicles whose registrations have expired for a period of 45 days or more.
Public works report
Rod Webster reported that the gopher infestation at the Odessa cemetery has been eliminated.
Work continues on grinder pumps and lift station panels.
A conference attended by council members, public works employees and various funding agencies pointed out to the municipalities that, in order to be eligible to receive future grants, towns and cities must contribute to their own sustainability by ensuring that water/sewer rates are brought up to a standard that will ensure future repairs and upgrades and by performing crack-sealing on its roadways to keep them in good repair. Government aid, he said, is more likely to be granted to communities that endeavor to help themselves first.
Webster also suggested that a recreation bond be considered by the town to help the community maintain its properties, among other things. Money from such a bond can be put to many different uses, he said.
Mayor Bill Crossley announced that the final budget hearing for 2019 will be held at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the council on November 26.