(Posted Oct. 16, 2020)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Over the past year, London city council members have heard from several residents who want to raise chickens in their yards.
Some have children involved in 4-H who raise chickens and want to keep the animals year-round. Others want access to fresh eggs. Some have mentioned worry about food shortages related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response, council members Andy Hitt and Bryan Robinson are co-sponsoring legislation that they will introduce at the Nov. 5 council meeting. They consulted other towns and cities who allow their residents to raise chickens.
The proposed legislation addresses the number of chickens allowed, coop size requirements, and waste removal requirements. Residents would not be allowed to have roosters, sell eggs, or let the chickens roam freely. Those who want to raise chickens would need to get a one-time permit followed by annual inspections. Penalties would be assessed for violations.
“I don’t think it’s going to go away,” Robinson said of the interest from residents and his and Hitt’s reasons for drafting legislation. “It’s something that will continue coming forward.”
At the Oct. 15 council meeting, council unanimously passed increases in storm water utility fees. Effective Jan. 1, the monthly fee will go from $3 to $5 for residential properties and from $9 to $11 for commercial and business properties. In each of the following four years (2022-2025), the fee for all property types will go up $1.50.
The purpose of the fee is to raise money for repairs and maintenance to the city’s storm water system. Brenda Russell, the council member who sponsored the fee increase legislation, said the city continually looks for grants to supplement the fund.
“With our city growing, we will need to eventually throw even more effort into our storm sewers, and that’s going to include equipment and manpower,” said Henry Comer, council president.
Council member Josh Peters reported that the parks and recreation department plans to install two large fans to help with air circulation in the gymnasium at the community center. Council member Richard Hayes reported that the police department purchased two new cruisers, as well as a cargo trailer for transporting equipment and supplies. Among other uses, the trailer can transport materials for mass innoculation sites, he said. The city is using Coronavirus Relief Funds to cover the cost of the gym fans and the cargo trailer.
In other action, council:
- held the first reading on the city’s 2021 budget; and
- approved changes to procedures for what is typically commercial dumping at the landfill the city owns and operates. Now, all dumping at the landfill must be scheduled with the sanitation department, a sanitation employee must be present at the time of the dumping, and fees will be collected at the time of service. Prohibited items include concrete, asphalt and rocks. The sanitation department could deny items such as metals and hazardous materials.
“This just helps keep us in line, controlling what’s making its way back there,” said council member Anthony Smith.