By Randy Mitchell
COALGATE — Discussion at Coalgate City Council’s monthly meeting centered on a possible new ordinance which would provide a clear definition of dog kennels and add a section to the city’s code of ordinances to include cats.
Ordinance 178 would stipulate that any given household would be allowed a maximum number of dogs.
“It shall be unlawful for any person in the city to have in his possession or under his control more than two dogs over the age of four months. However, a person may have in possession three dogs over the age of four months, if all three dogs are spayed and/or neutered,” the proposed ordinance reads.
Council agreed allowing each household three unaltered dogs or four altered dogs would help city police enforce laws against residents who have multiple dogs that cause problems with neighbors.
Councilors were also adamant about not allowing “breeding” dog kennels in city limits. Councilmember Muriel Parker said, and other members agreed, there would be “no breeding kennels in the city of Coalgate.”
The ordinance, if enacted, would require any resident with more than the maximum limit of dogs to find new homes for them or face action by the city.
Coalgate resident Frances Hamer asked, “What are you going to do with the dogs if they can’t get rid of them?”
City officials said residents would be in be in violation of nuisance laws and would be fined $200 each day they were over the limit with dogs. The ordinance also includes several sections about cats, including a maximum number of three unaltered cats or six altered cats.
It would also allow law enforcement to destroy any at large cat deemed diseased or vicious with permission from the city manager or the chief of police. Council took no action on the ordinance but agreed to discuss it further in the next several months.
Another item on the agenda was discussion about allowing golf carts on city streets.
“We have some residents who are interested in the city allowing golf carts to be used on city streets in residential areas,” City Manager Roger Cosper said. “Once it gets to the point of it being an ordinance, that would be something that we would want to put stickers on and the drivers would have (to be licensed and insured).”
Police Chief Kenny Pebworth said his office does not take action against residents who use golf carts in residential neighborhoods in a safe manner, but only when children or adults operate carts in an unsafe manner. Council took no action.
Council agreed to change the due date on water bills from the seventh of each month to the 10th. Council decided to hold city meetings on the last Monday of each month in 2011 with the exception of May, June and December when the meetings would be one week earlier.
Council also approved giving city employees (firefighters, clerks, etc.) a “mid-year” bonus or Christmas bonus. The bonus would remain the same as the previous year but council agreed those city workers are due for a cost of living raise after Jan. 1, 2011. The matter will be discussed further then.
Council agreed to allow a variance to a homeowner in the 100 block of S. Ada to raise “show pigs” in the backyard of the residence until a showing in March 2011.
“They had to get permission from the neighbors,” Cosper said. “The show’s in March so ... it wouldn’t be anything that would carry on after that I wouldn’t think.”
Cosper said the city does not normally allow farm animals in a residential area. Council granted a variance to Francis Hamer allowing her to place a mobile home on property she is buying on N. Byrd Street.
The home is a triple-wide and would be held to city standards. Once approved, Hamer thanked the council and said, “Thank you, God bless you all.”