Animal control in Caliente – go all out or keep it simple.
That was the discussion at the Nov. 19 city council meeting. The current ordinance was written a few years ago and has been amended on how to enforce the law. But there are problems with manpower. As it is now, if a dog is in someone else’s yard or being too loud, city workers are called to take care of the nuisance, but the city employees do not have enough hours to handle every dog problem in the area.
Another concern is city employees are not trained and equipped to handle dangerous animals or angry dog owners. The sheriff’s department can handle aggressive calls like dog attacks and biting, but they to do not have the manpower to deal with basic animal control.
The animal calls in Caliente are usually high in volume and are about less urgent issues like barking dogs and dogs defecating on the neighbor’s lawn. Carter said if there is going to be an animal control law, it needs to be done right. This means hiring and training an animal control specialist and finding and updating a facility to house animals. This would cost the city a lot of money, and dog licensing fees are only bringing in a couple hundred dollars a month in revenue. Plus, citations on violations of the ordinance are rarely paid.
The alternative is to again revise the ordinance with language regarding citations and enforcing them in court. Fines and paperwork would be handled by City Attorney Dylan Frehner. Councilman Cody Christensen said he doesn’t mind some of the dogs that run around, but it’s the menacing dogs that have bitten people several times that are a real problem. He said these dogs are dangerous, and something needs to be done. The council decided that the current ordinance will be amended with new language regarding citations for owners of problematic dogs. Additionally, the city will no longer respond to less urgent animal problems. The amendment will be voted on during the December 3 council meeting.
In other matters, city employees are still trying to get the biggest bang for their buck on health insurance. The current insurance plan ends December 1, but the Teamster’s Union will not have an affirmative quote and plan in action until the middle of February. The city employees have asked the council to find out if a temporary insurance plan can be set for six months so that they can possibly change over to the Teamsters. Mayor Stana Hulburt said she wants to schedule a special meeting on this matter to research a six-month plan with Assurant Health, which recently provided a quote to take over the health coverage. The mayor said she wants to make sure the city employees have the coverage they want and deserve and that is affordable for them. Christensen said he looked at the Teamster’s plan and joked he was jealous because of the benefits the plan offers. Approval was made to negotiate for a six-month term with Assurant, if possible. The special meeting will be held Nov. 30 at 6 p.m.
Construction funding has finally been approved for the long-planned mountain bike trail around Caliente. The funding will be available around February – in time to start in spring. Some residents are concerned that some of the current trails may be lost, but Hulburt stated the city won’t let that happen.
Ken Dixon reported he will be going to Las Vegas for floodplain training November 30 through December 3 to maintain Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) certification. He said he will be driving himself and staying with family, so it would not cost the city anything. Dixon was approved for the training.
Frank Beard of Satellite FX was approved for a business license. He is the new dealer for Dish Network here in Lincoln County.
The roof over the bathroom area at the City Depot has been in bad shape for some time now. Dixon quoted an amount of $955 to repair it. Hulburt is donating some left over materials to the project. The roof repair was approved.