Cats, Nuisance Properties Top Kahoka Council Discussion

By Mike Scott

“I’m tired of the waste of city money,” said Alderman Joe Roberts. The city spends several hundred dollars each month to board stray animals, many of which are then euthanized.

“Why are we responsible?” asked Alderman Larry Young.

“What makes the city responsible is the health and welfare of the residents,” answered City Attorney April Wilson.

Roberts suggested the city strictly enforce its ordinance allowing no more than four animals at any residence. Roberts also reported that the state veterinarian said, in some circumstances, the city can take animal to the vet to be euthanized the same day. A stray is any animal without a collar or license.

Assistant Police Chief John Gaus said, “There’s definitely a cat problem here in town.” He noted that he knows of at least one person that feeds cats at several location around Kahoka.

The policy of the city has been “if you feed them, they’re yours.”

Animal activist Sherri Brunk works with several rescue organizations, which cover some of the boarding costs. Last year, Brunk helped remove over 300 animals from the city. She suggested that a spay and neuter clinic might help the situation.

City officials will continue to look for options.

Nuisance properties continue to be an issue. While several will be torn down soon with demolition grant funds, other problems remain. One resident reported that her neighbors have trash all over the yard, burn trash in the street at all hours.

The legal process to deal with nuisance properties can take several month. First, violators must be given the opportunity to clean up the property. If that fails, ticket is issued, and court date is set, usually 30 days or more in the future.

“It can take around 70 days to get anything done,” Gaus said. “We know its frustrating, but we’re doing everything we can,” Gaus explained.
In other business:
-Mayor Jerry Webber explained the delay in the demolition grant work. Liberty Utilities had not abandoned the gas lines on 12 of the 18 properties, despite being notified several months ago.
-The council decided not to replace windows at the pool this year, but will make necessary repairs.
-Approved a bid of $19,237.50 from W.L. Miller to overlay two inches of asphalt on the O-MAK-O-HAK Park walking trail.
-Awarded a bid to Clark County Memorial Shop for grave stone restoration. Sixteen stones will be reset, at a cost of $6650.
-Approved an employee/official conflict of interest ordinance required by the state every two years.
-Amended the payroll ordinance to correct the wages of one employee.
-Alderman Larry Young reported that the sidewalk bridge on Vine Street near the airport was damaged by a vehicle last winter. The vehicles owner is a carpenter, and agreed to repair the bridge. The board will give them a deadline for completion.
-Young also asked about problems with several cable channels going off the air. He was told a satellite is not holding its orbit, and that the city’s receiver must be manually realigned when that happens.
-Alderman Orlie Yoder asked about a ditch dug along the former railroad right of way on West Union.  The ditch was apparently dug by city employees on private property. The board will review the issue.
-Alderman Roberts asked if the school district is being charged for water and electricity at the Kahoka Ball Park. Alderman Young said that the Summer Ball Association would also have to pay. “You couldn’t charge them and not us,” he said.
The city will review the water and electric expenses before any decision is made.
Fire Chief Lary Fountain announced he will retire after 45 years as Chief, and 50 with the department.
-Assistant Police Chief Gaus reported a rash of vandalism in the city, and said they would be enforcing curfew for minors