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Edina Council Tackles Dog Issues In April Meeting

By Crystal Howerton

The Edina Board of Alderman met at the regular April meeting last Monday to satisfy a lengthy agenda including the animal control ordinance, the certification of the recent election and swearing in of officials, water usage of the Knox County Nursing Home District, as well as issues concerning individual citizens.
Following the reading of the previous month’s minutes and presentations of the Collector’s and Treasurer’s reports, Council members voted to pay the monthly bills, which were amended to include a $5,000 partial payment to JE/DCF Electric, Shelbina, MO, for the ongoing capital improvement project regarding the lift stations.
Council members heard from Freddie and Jeanne Bailey regarding the recent Pit Bull dog attack on their family pet, an English Bulldog. Jeanne Bailey announced that they had procured another 49 signatures of concerned citizens in the community for their petition. The Bailey’s provided additional news articles and Internet sources pertaining to Pit Bull dog attacks, as well as a sample ordinance for the Council’s perusal. City Council members agreed to table this controversial issue until the other business at hand had been addressed.
Stacy Harder, of just northeast of town, approached City Council members concerning the situation in which his dog was seriously injured by the use of a tranquilizer dart during its apprehension. The dog was apprehended by the Edina Police Department on February 13, 2008 while at large. Having no luck during their repeated attempts to find the dog’s owner, City Police were prepared to use euthanasia. Fortunately, Harder inquired about his animal at City Hall before the animal was destroyed. He paid all fees associated with its confinement and claimed his dog, which was suffering from an injury incurred during his capture. Harder took his dog to a veterinarian and a tranquilizer dart was discovered imbedded in the animal approximately three weeks after his capture. Harder, while sympathetic of the City’s need to control the stray animal population in Edina, was concerned that another animal might unduly suffer or that a child might become injured if they were to find a discarded dart. Claiming to have experience in the use of tranquilizer’s on animals, Harder recommended that the City explore the possibility of using a dart having a side-port which is, in his opinion, more effective.
Edina Police Chief Roger Waibel extended his sympathy for the injured dog, which has since made a remarkable recovery, and stated that it is never their intention to harm an animal. He agreed to investigate the dart that was recommended by Harder. He also commented that the kennel purchase, which was discussed during a prior meeting had fell through. However the police department will continue to seek out more suitable accommodations for stray animals.
Knox County Nursing Home Administrator Tim Schrage addressed City Council members pertaining to water usage at the nursing home and expressed the facility’s need for two water sources. He explained that the nursing home uses approximately 130,000 gallons of water each month and in the event of a water leak, it is nearly impossible to continue operations without access to water. “It would be helpful to have the use of two water sources, the City and the County,” said Schrage, claiming the issue has a very real need. “We intend to explore the possibility of establishing and maintaining two water lines,” explained Schrage. “It would be to our advantage to have two water sources.”
Edina Fire Department Assistant Chief and Alderman Tom Morgret explained that fire protection would become a huge issue, as well. According to Morgret, the fire department cannot draw water from a county line without the fear of a possible water line collapse.
Schrage also discussed the possibility of a new law requiring a sprinkler system in the Residential Care Facility, which has not yet been voted upon by the Nursing Home District Board. According to Schrage, an additional line would need to be established for the RCF sprinkler system, which would not connect with the nursing home sprinkler system. However, the cost of a new sprinkler system would be almost $100,000. He also said the condition of the 13,000 gallon tank is in need of assessment and that if the tank is beyond repair, it may not need to be replaced if a second water line is established.
Superintendent of Utilities Mike Wriedt and the Edina City Council conceded that it was acceptable to them to allow KCNH to establish a second water line with the Knox County Public Water District for emergency use only, in the event of a water leak or other situation in which the nursing home district would be without water. Since a County water meter is already set at the location, it would just be a matter of plumbing into the building. It was decided that Wriedt would meet with Schrage to measure the water pressure on the incoming line at the nursing home to determine the size and capability of a new sprinkler system.
Donna Farris, who lives at the corner of Jackson and 4th Streets in Edina, requested that City Council members consider posting a “Children at Play” sign near that intersection. She explained that a number of children cross the street in that vicinity and she is concerned about the large amount of traffic in that neighborhood which either does not stop at the stop signs or races up to them, only to slam on the their brakes at the last minute before speeding on to the next one. Later, during Alderman comments, Council members considered Farris’ request. After discussing the fairness of putting up that particular sign and not others that have been requested in the past or ones at other locations equally populated with children, City Council members reluctantly agreed to place the sign at the proposed location believing the City already has a
See COUNCIL, Page 16
couple of those signs in storage.
The Certification of Election results provided by Knox County Clerk Debbie McCurren was read by Mayor Strickler. Then, City Clerk Margaret Gibson swore in elected officials Mayor Davey Strickler, Collector Betty Morgret and Aldermen Renee Edwards, Donnie Davis and Albert Hagerla. City Clerk Margaret Gibson and City Attorneys Deveny, Brown and Fortney were re-appointed to the City’s service.
Having settled election business at hand, department reports were heard from Wastewater Superintendent Brad Eitel and Superintendent of Utilities Mike Wriedt. Eitel called attention to the fact that the Wastewater Treatment facility had exceeded its design flow for the month of March by 3,000 gallons, which was 101.4% of design flow. However, Eitel indicated that the cause of the excessive flow was likely dilution caused by additional rainfall, explaining that the facility is designed for a population of 2,200 and the actual population equivalent for March was only 1,411.
Eitel announced that after 10 years without a rate increase, he proposes to increase the Lagoon Laboratory testing fees: BOD from $12.50 to $15.00, TSS from $12.50 to $15.00, Ammonia from $10.00 to $15.00 and pH from $5.00 to $15.00. This rates increase will not affect the citizens of Edina, but other City’s in the area who require the use of our testing facilities for lab work such as LaBelle, Brashear, Memphis, Hurdland etc. City Council members voted to adopt the new testing fees, which will be effective immediately.
It was announced that during the recent conference attended by Eitel and Wriedt in Springfield, MO the City of Edina was presented the award for the 2007 Wastewater System of the Year on March 19, 2008 by the Missouri Rural Water Association. Congratulations were extended for claiming this awesome award. In addition, Mayor Strickler commented that the Clarence Cannon Wholesale Water Commission had recently received the award for the 2007 Water System of the Year, as well, both of which reflect highly on the City of Edina.
Wriedt discussed repairs, maintenance and equipment pertaining to water, streets and sewer in Edina. He said that they would soon be tying over water services on North Street and doing cleanup at the site when the weather dries up. According to Wriedt, the new lift stations that were installed are doing great. He said that two new pumps have been installed and the purchase of two additional pumps is also required, at approximately $2,200 each. Wriedt explained that one pump was repairable and he was obtaining estimates to have it fixed for use as a backup. He announced that the skidloader that was recently purchased was delivered and is already in use. Streets were swept and cinders have been removed, some of which were salvaged for use next winter.
City employees will soon be removing the lime bed from an existing truck and installing a dump bed. In addition, they will be purchasing a slide-in salt and sand spreader. This equipment will assist with the street-paving process and spreading cinders next winter. Wriedt said these improvements should make the process faster and more efficient, with less wasted material. City Council members discussed the sale of the lime bed, oil distributor, and yellow dump truck after making these changes.
Wriedt also mentioned that LiquiVision Technology Diving Services, Klamath Falls, OR, would be in town this week to clean the water tower.
Cindy Gunter with KCCAM and Knox County Smokebusters presented a 40 Assets presentation to the City Council, as well as requesting those in attendance complete a survey.
Prior to Edina Police Chief Roger Waibel’s department report, Council members heard from Jim Dick and Betty Fountain about the ongoing dog issue. Dick, a Pit Bull dog owner, supports the need for enhancement of the current animal control ordinance and accepts the responsibility of owning a dog possessing a dubious reputation. He stated that he would not be opposed to a leash law, which he feels should be common in the handling of any large dog breed. He suggested that City Council members obtain local veterinarian input while exploring a solution to this issue. He also claimed that un-neutered male dogs, not breed specific, are responsible for 85% of all reported dog attacks.
Betty Fountain, another concerned citizen, voiced her concerns about citizens not feeling comfortable to walk down the streets of Edina without fear of being attacked by the Pit Bull in question, as well as other vicious animals. She is in support of a leash law and/or other type of substantial confinement for dogs. However, she feels that being breed specific is not fair and that all pet owners should be treated equally.
During a lengthy discussion in which no definite solution came to light, Council members addressed the dog issue and agreed that they needed to get the ball rolling at the next meeting, however they gave the impression that they would be in favor of a leash law to begin with.
Mayor Strickler read a letter from Weldon Woodward, Levasy, MO stating his delight to learn that the check he sent last month would be used for the Children’s Halloween Party fund and included an additional $20 for that purpose.
Chief Waibel stated that the police department had been very busy this month with a variety of things. He said that he turned in approximately 10 summonses lately, all pertaining to physical altercations. He announced that the department has started the cleanup list and have so far noted 31 unlicensed vehicles and mailed out 15-20 letters to citizens advising them to clean up their properties. He said that the installation of a surveillance camera at the wastewater plant was successful and said they would be installing a camera at the ball diamond as well.
Those in attendance commented on the deteriorating condition of the west side of the building that formerly housed Stagecoach Pizza, owned by Mr. Comb, and Waibel was directed to send a letter to Comb advising him that the building was in need of repair.
He told City Council members that Matt Gerdes, part-time officer for the City of Edina is no longer employed by the police department and explained that the City’s equipment, badge, gun, etc. has yet to be returned. He informed City Council members that he is in the process of recovering the equipment, as well as interviewing a new part-time officer, who is also from Palmyra.