SIKESTON - Both dogs and cats will soon be required to wear leashes while outside in Sikeston.
The new leash provision is just one of the changes to the city's animal ordinance approved by council members during their regular meeting Monday.
Tom Bridger, public works director, said most of the amendments' provisions were suggested by the city's animal control officer Ken Fowler. "It gives him more authority to do something with problem animals that he couldn't do anything about before," Bridger said.
Highlighting changes from the bill, Bridger said this version of the amendment no longer lists four dog breeds, but only pit bulls and pit bull mixes, although he added any individual dog can be designated a dangerous animal based on its history.
The amendment also has a section prohibiting exotic animals within the city.
In other business covered during the meeting:
* A public hearing for the proposed fiscal year 2004 budget and capital improvement plan was held as required by the City Charter.
The hearing must be held 60 days prior to the end of the fiscal year, according to City Manager Doug Friend.
Noting the budget preparation for staff is "one of the most significant events of the year," Friend said the city is facing a revenue shortfall and staff are making every effort to maintain the level of services citizens have come to expect.
Under workforce reduction measures, the city will not fill four public safety officers, one sergeant, one dispatcher and three skilled worker positions that are currently vacant at the public safety and public works departments.
The merit plan for employees will remain in place, but there will not be a cost-of-living increase, and employee health insurance benefits will remain in place until December when a $1,000 deductible will be imposed
Other measures include reducing the frequency of mowing at city parks by one third, saving $10,000.
While officials hope these measures will be sufficient for FY-04, consideration must be given to finding additional revenue sources in the coming year.
"This is the required public meeting as per the Charter," said Friend. Additional meetings will be scheduled, however, for citizens to discuss the budget in more detail between now and the acceptance of the budget slated for the regular June meeting.
* Representatives from Sikeston Area Humane Society pled their case before the council, seeking to restore their slashed budget.
"We understand about city cuts," said Maryanne McSpadden, former president of the Sikeston Area Humane Society.
It is, however, something the people want, McSpadden said. "They do not want nuisance animals, they do not want dangerous animals."
Because the humane society goes quietly about their business, the humane society is always low on the list of organizations that receive donations.
Over half the animals that come into the shelter are from Sikeston, McSpadden said.
"This is a public safety issue and it needs money behind it," McSpadden said in conclusion.
"We appreciate what you do and your passion for it," said Marshall. He noted the budget is very tight, and suggested sending community service workers to help out.
Gabby Evans of the humane society said their past experience has shown them to be, generally speaking, rude, lazy and obnoxious.
"We're open to suggestions," Marshall added.
* A contract to provide bond consultant services was awarded to the sole bidder, Kirkpatrick Pettis of Kansas City.
Bill Green, director of the department of economic development, said that according to the redevelopment agreement between the city and Four Corners Development Company Inc. for the 60/61 Redevelopment Project the developer may request bonds to be issued to refund Tax Increment Funding notes issued by the city.
Green said the bonds will be debt-serviced by revenues from the redevelopment district. A little over $3 million in bonds will be issued.
* Construction contracts for the street program were awarded to the low bidders by the council members as recommended by staff, with the total coming in $83,567 below the engineer's estimates, according to Bridger.
Bridger recommended holding the money to cover change orders on the street projects.
Council members decided, however, to look for $60,000 of street work that can be completed agreeing the $23,000 should be plenty to cover change orders.
The reconstruction of Wakefield will be completed by PR Developers of Cape Girardeau for $234,805.
The bid for asphalt overlays went to Apex Paving of Sikeston who offered the work at $270,077.25.
Reconstruction on Kingshighway and spot reconstruction on Hardin will also be done by PR Developers, which bid $42,550.
* Speed limits on Highway 61/North Main from Calvary Road to Salcedo Road will be reduced to 50 mph from the present 55 mph.
The ordinance will not go into effect for 30 days, Bridger noted.
Juden recommended placing a flashing sign with radar gun readings there to "get the word out" about the speed limit change there.
* Mary Breckenridge was appointed to the SAHEC Advisory Board to fill the unexpired term of Gordon Waller who relocated.
The term runs through December 2005.
* Bridger said the city's compost site will be open some additional days to help residents deal with limbs and other yard waste from the recent storm.
The compost site will be open today from 1:15-3:30 p.m. and from 8 a.m. till noon Saturday.