Stray and abused animals in New Albany were a major part of the discussion during the August 1 meeting of the New Albany Board of Aldermen.
New Albany resident Lisa Smith made a scheduled personal appearance before the board, during which she criticized the city’s current practices regarding stray animals and asked for a formal review of the job being done by Jim Taylor, the city’s present animal control officer.
Smith had other questions, comments and recommendations regarding animal control including:
- New Albany has an animal abuse problem.
- The animal control contractor should be required to keep records and report regularly to the board.
- The animal control contractor should be someone who is trained for the job.
- Proof of required vaccinations should have to be furnished before animals could be released back to their owners.
- Money from the sale of animals should go directly into the city’s general fund.
City attorney Regan Russell said that, although Taylor is a contractor, not a city employee, he is a sworn officer and his review would have to be conducted in an executive session to which the public and news media would not be admitted. On the motion of Ward One Alderman Amy Livingston, the board voted unanimously to conduct the review of Taylor’s performance within 60 days.
Dustin Hatcher asked the board for permission to provide transportation using a horse-drawn vehicle from the Union County Library parking lot to downtown restaurants. Hatcher said he would charge $5 per person for the ride or $15 for a party of four. Hatcher said his plan was to use a single mare or gelding to pull a lightweight conveyance carrying passengers. In response to questions from Russell, Hatcher said he had liability insurance to provide coverage for such a service. The board voted unanimously to allow Hatcher to provide horse-drawn transportation on a trial basis.
Departmental business items
The board unanimously approved application for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for development of a site for a new manufacturing operation expected to employ 40 people.
New Albany Lights, Gas and Water (NALGW) manager asked for and received permission to purchase a new forklift for $30,939 and a new Bush Hog for $9,700.
Tourism Director Sean Johnson told the board the city had received $79,544 in tourism taxes for the month of May. He said the amount was a 23% increase over the same month of 2016.
Johnson recommended that the city purchase bicycle rental equipment to make bikes available to visitors. He also recommended that the city update its website. He said the city had received an MBA grant of $9,000 for events to be held in June 2018.
Police Chief Chris Robertson asked for and received board authorization to allow local police officers to receive some of their training with a computer based system called Virtual Academy.
Robertson recommended that Chris Swords be changed from part-time to full-time status with the police department and that Willis McNeil, Eric Welch and Steven Cossey be added to the part-time roster. The board approved all of the personnel requests.
Fire Chief Steve Coker said the fire department had sold a used fire truck for $5,000. Coker said the department had received 200 new smoke detectors which will be demonstrated to persons needing them in the city and county. He said the smoke detectors could only go to home owners.
Code Enforcement Officer Eric Thomas told the board that the zoning board had denied a request from the Internal Medicine and Pediatric Clinic (IM+PC) for a variance for a monument sign it wants to erect at its new clinic building under construction at Oxford Road and Fairfield Drive. Thomas said the zoning board ruled that the sign was not in compliance with the city’s sign ordinance. He said IM+PC intended to appeal the zoning board’s ruling at the September meeting of the board of aldermen. There was discussion of the need to make revisions in the controversial 2006 sign ordinance.
Thomas asked for and received authorization to have one motor vehicle towed under the city’s junk car rules.