Trenton City Council refers dog breed ban to Trenton Administrative Committee, approve hiring of two police officers

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After hearing a request from economic developer Scott Sharp of the North Missouri Development Alliance, the Trenton City Council Monday night authorized Sharp to offer parcels of the city-owned Industrial Park land for potential business and industrial development prospects.

The council referred a request to the Administrative Committee on whether to repeal Trenton’s breed-specific dog ordinance. Members approved the employment of two police officers and amended two sections of city code to accommodate the new downtown social district.

There are one hundred acres in north Trenton that’s designated as the industrial park with more than 40 acres in row crop per a lease arrangement with an area farmer. With two to three companies recently requesting site proposals, Sharp wanted to know what the city council could offer in terms of land and utilities to the proposed site. After considerable discussion, the council passed a motion to allow Sharp to offer parcels of land in five-acre tracts or more if desired by a prospect. To be determined are cost estimates to bring water and sewer to the proposed site and how to pay for it. City Administrator Ron Urton is to consult with an engineering firm to get an estimate.

Jackie Soptic of Green Hills Regional Planning, who serves on the board for North Missouri Development Alliance, said the cost to make utilities accessible could be covered by federal funds the city and county expect to receive from the American Rescue Plan Act, (ARPA) the latest federal stimulus bill to aid public health and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also speaking on behalf of the development alliance were members Phil Hoffman and Cathie Smith. Hoffman indicated prospects are more likely to choose a site if it has water and sewer readily available. Cathie Smith agreed the land would be hard to market without accessible utilities.

Since 2006, the city of Trenton has had an ordinance in which certain breeds of dogs are prohibited within the city limits. That list includes Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Chow Chows, Akitas, and Doberman Pinchers. Speaking with prepared remarks to the city council last night was Kalley Erickson of Trenton who described herself as a volunteer for Green Hills Animal Shelter. She told of several banned dogs being kept at the animal shelter which could not be adopted if the adoptee is a resident within Trenton.

The banned breeds housed at the shelter, she indicated, only adds to the shelter being at capacity for dogs. In the past 15 years, Erickson cited figures provided by the Trenton Police Department that indicate only 101 dog bite incidents occurred. Most of them she said involved a household member getting bitten. In asking for the repeal, Erickson said people can’t judge a dog by the way it looks.

Some on the council believe the pet owners need to be more responsible for their dogs. There was a suggestion that an owner of a banned breed provide proof of insurance if the repeal is made. Councilman Robert Romesburg said his social media survey this weekend shows 29 of 30 responses believe the breed ban should be lifted. Following discussion, the request was forwarded to the Trenton Administrative Committee for study.

Police Chief Rex Ross announced the police personnel boards’ recommendation to hire Michael Williams and Seth Allen as police officers. The council approved the recommendation.

When the council, in August of 2021, endorsed the new Social District downtown and its boundaries, approval was needed to amend two sections of the city code. One city code pertains to the open container law and the other involved alcoholic beverages. The council adopted the amended ordinances by a 7 to nothing vote.

The Social District allows alcoholic beverages to be consumed outside of bars or restaurants in the downtown area during specific events and times as long as it’s within the identified boundaries.

An amended engineering contract with All-State Consultants of Marceline was approved on a six to one vote. Danny Brewer was opposed. City Administrator Urton said the amended contract limits the number of construction observations the company will do to monitor work to be done at the Trenton water plant. The frequency of on-site visits will be discussed with city officials prior to any construction beginning. The total cost for All-State Consultants to provide preliminary and final designs, construction documents, bidding procedures, and other services is $194,000.

Urton said the street department located a used stainless steel, chat spreader with a snow blade for $800. He reported an engineer has plans ready to bid on a six-inch main to the sewer plant with some of the work to be done by city employees. Romesburg said the idea of creating a “dog park” is to be presented to the Trenton Park Board.

Individual members of the council were asked by MBL Development to submit letters of support for a senior housing project proposed in north Trenton. Seven members of the city council participated in person or by zoom. Duane Urich was absent.

The council also met in executive session for legal and personnel.