After much discussion, for more than 30 minutes, the Trenton City Council Monday night met with citizens, many of whom were seeking a repeal of the breed-specific dog ordinance. Six members of the council were physically present at Trenton City Hall and another took part via Zoom. Twenty individuals were in the audience at city hall.
Danny Brewer made the motion, second by Duane Urich, to lift the city ban on specific breeds of dogs. They were the only two who voted in favor when the roll call vote was taken. Opposed at this time to lifting the breed ban were John Dolan, Lance Otto, Marvin Humphreys, and Dave Mlika. Robert Romesburg, who owns a pet supply store in Trenton, and has openly expressed his desire to see the ban lifted, said he was advised to abstain because of a possible conflict of interest. Kevin Klinginsmith was absent. So the breed ban, enacted by ordinance in 2006, remains in effect for now.
Otto vowed to research the matter by looking at similar breed ban ordinances in other cities, and speaking with their animal control officers in an effort to someday have something that he believes is fair to the dog owners while continuing to have a safe environment for citizens. He did not have a time frame when questioned how long it will take. He pointed to a need to make what he called an “educated” decision rather than make a “knee-jerk” decision as he put it. Otto said he believes the ban should be lifted sometime in the future but wanted the council to be deliberate in making a decision – one that might include specific restrictions involving the breeds. He also stated during the discussion, it was not about the breeds but how dogs are raised.
Otto said the council also needs to consider whether Trenton has the resources to enforce the specific breeds ban and/or enact tethering or leash laws. Also to be determined is whether restrictions can be placed on responsible dog owners because of irresponsible dog owners.
Urich called the current breed ban ordinance unenforceable. He also pointed out Trenton has a vicious dogs ordinance. Animal Control Officer Les Spickard said this ordinance contains sub-sections which in part require a dog “convicted” of being vicious, to be removed from the city. City Attorney Tara Walker said the vicious dog ordinance addresses aggression while the breed-specific ban does not.
When questioned, Attorney Walker said if the breed ban was to be lifted, and then an incident occurred, the councils’ liability for a decision it made, would be low.
Many in the audience said, “you can’t judge a dog by the way it looks.”
Green Hills Animal Shelter had three representatives attend the council meeting, one of whom, Tim Michael, stated the other spectators present acted on their own.
Three ordinances were approved Monday night by the Trenton City Council.
The city will accept an additional $109,413 in a block grant agreement with the Highways and Transportation Commission. This money adds to previous grants issued in September of 2019 and 2020 that totaled over $888,500.
Funds will be used for the T-hangar and taxiways project at the Trenton airport. The timeline, per the amendment, has been extended until December 31, 2022.
The council approved $15,970 for RS Electric to do an upgrade of SCADA software at the water treatment and power plants. R-S Electric agreed to provide services and materials for a new reporting tool to replace the old reporting method which was described as locked and not re-configurable.
Also approved was $28,600 to Strategy L L C to migrate users and city-owned computers to Microsoft Azure and Intune. The cost covers 11 city facility locations. City Administrator Ron Urton said the change will enhance security measures. Matt Woods who spoke on behalf of Strategy said the change increase user and device management including remote view capabilities for authorized staff.
In his report, Utility Director Ron Urton said two proposals were received from companies interested in doing the study in Trenton water and sewer rates. He noted TMU staff will evaluate the proposals and prepare a recommendation.
The bid opening date is October 14th for installing the new and larger water main to the sewer plant. Materials have been delivered for the city to do underground work at 2nd and Connie Lane. At the water plant, Urton said the chlorine contact basin cover has been completed. The electric plant sub-station transformer change out is tentatively scheduled for around the 1st of November. And it was noted the city name of Trenton has been re-painted on the roof of the hangar at the airport.
The city council also met in a closed, executive session last night for legal.