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Peabody City Council: Pet registration: Tax or fee?

Staff writer

Tagging pets that have received a three-year rabies vaccination was a topic of discussion Monday evening by Peabody City Council.

A review of city animal ordinance 883 sparked a debate about whether the city should charge a license fee each year of the three-year period covered by the extended rabies vaccine. Councilman Pam Lamborn argued that pet owners who purchase the three-year vaccination should be exempt from paying license fees after the first year.

“I thought the reason we have the owners come in and buy a new tag was to be sure the pet was current on the rabies shot,” she said. “If there is a notation that the animal has received a three-year shot, then I don’t think we should charge $5 each of those three years. The record would show that the vaccination is good until three years from the initial tag purchase and that should be good enough.”

Lamborn said she thought this was one area where the city could provide a cost break for services to its citizens.

The ordinance does not recognize the cost of the tag as a fee. It is referred to as a levied tax.

According to interim city clerk Stephanie Ax, the term “levied tax” indicates it is a charge for the privilege of owning a pet.

“It doesn’t matter how many years the vaccination is good,” she said. “The tax is $5 a year for a spayed or neutered dog or cat, $10 a year for one that has not been neutered.”

After discussion the council agreed to return to the topic Dec. 8. All councilmen were instructed to come back with any necessary work changes to back-up their positions.

Animal control officer Tammy Whiteside agreed to contact other communities and check on their regulations.

In other business, the council:

  • agreed, after hearing from ISI testing service about the testing schedule for the former sewer plant, to contact Kansas Department of Health and Environment regarding the possibility of an additional extension to the sewer project.
  • was introduced to Lorenzo Phelps who recently moved to Peabody and would be filling in on the police department as a part-time reserve officer.
  • heard from Betty Sebree that her former home at 805 Plum had been burned as a training exercise for Peabody firefighters and she hired Kenny Rogers to clean-up the property. He will begin work this week or next.
  • agreed to ask Arlen Gfeller to serve as interim zoning administrator and to offer a part-time office position to Sarah Pohlman while Ax is interim city clerk.
  • approved the 2009 refuse contract and franchise agreement with Stutzman Refuse. A 30-cent per month increase will be passed on to trash customers.
  • reviewed nuisance properties and grass nuisances with Whiteside. After a lengthy discussion, a motion to abate the nuisance at 409 Plum was approved. A letter will be sent, after which work will be done by city employees and charged to the property owner.
  • heard from Whiteside that the “Notice to Trim” list shows progress as homeowners had cut-back limbs and shrubs that are covering traffic and directional signs. It is the responsibility of homeowners to keep plant growth away from city signs.
  • heard from public works director Darren Pickens the winterizing at city park is completed, one of the sewer pumps will be sent in for repair, and he and his employees should be ready to move into the new city shop in a couple of weeks. Following the move, the city will have surplus equipment and supplies no longer used that can be put out for bid.
  • approved a suggestion by Schmidt to re-establish the building committee and have them meet frequently until all upgrades and finish work are completed in the new building. Phone lines, communications equipment, computer service, and security issues should be discussed with the department heads occupying the building so their needs are met before the interior is completed.
  • heard Pickens and Peabody Police Chief Bruce Burke are dissatisfied with the evaluation tool the city uses. Neither felt the review process adequately addressed areas of work in his department. Councilmen Schmidt and Leslie LaFoy volunteered to help department heads re-structure the evaluation form.
  • asked Pickens to bring cost information on the Fifth Street bridge repair to the Dec. 29 meeting for review. Also scheduled a meeting Dec. 3 with the sanitation committee and Mayer Specialties to review a video they made of the sewer system around Westview Manor and Legacy Park where blockages have occurred.
  • heard from Burke that Jeremy Miller graduated Friday from Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center and will attend methamphetamine awareness training Dec. 19.
  • Burke reported the federal government has mandated breakaway traffic vests for all law enforcement officers and five traffic cones be carried in each law enforcement vehicle, will require GPS information on all traffic accidents, and set a deadline of Jan. 1, 2010 for all reports to be electronically sent to the State of Kansas.
  • approved a plan for Burke to become a notary public, agreed to pay the required $50 notary bond, and approved sending him to a computer crime training workshop in Denton, Texas.
  • entered an executive session for the purpose of discussing personnel. On return to open meeting the council approved a change in the wording of health and safety officer’s performance evaluation.
  • entered an executive session for the purpose of discussing confidential data related to secondary parties. No action was taken on return to open meeting.
  • entered two executive sessions for the purpose of discussing personnel. On return to open meeting following the first session, council members agreed to wording changes of the performance agreement for Burke. On return to open meeting following the second session, announced Burke had completed all necessary safety training requirements.
  • Discussed, at length, a possible job description for city clerk/administrator. No action was taken.
  • heard from economic development chairman and councilman Larry Larsen the county is willing to provide man power and a track hoe to help install the new highway sign directing people to downtown Peabody.
  • heard from Ax a vendor, Wichita Win-water, charged the city sales tax on a recent purchase. Ax will review past billing to see if this has happened before. Ax also agreed to review the Alltel statement and see if additional fee reductions might be possible.
  • instructed Ax to research the possibility of hosting quarterly safety classes rather than employees taking an open book quiz. The safety training is necessary to meet insurance requirements.
  • heard that Ron Carson is interested in selling his property at 305 and 307 Plum to the city.

Last modified Nov. 26, 2008

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