Chamois considers drafting ordinance to rid city of farm animals

By Theresa Brandt, Staff Writer
Posted 5/24/23

CHAMOIS — Chamois aldermen would like to pass an ordinance to get rid of all farm animals living within the city limits. Mayor Mike Edwards and Alderman Marie Slusser — sworn in at last …

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Chamois considers drafting ordinance to rid city of farm animals


CHAMOIS — Chamois aldermen would like to pass an ordinance to get rid of all farm animals living within the city limits. Mayor Mike Edwards and Alderman Marie Slusser — sworn in at last Wednesday’s meeting to fill the last vacant seat — believe the animals cause a nuisance to city residents.

“As you all know, I live next to a donkey,” Edwards said.

“I hear it all the time,” Slusser added. “We have to do something because that donkey is driving me crazy. I can’t sit down at 5 a.m. and have a cup of coffee because you have this thing screaming up the street.”

“Think about me,” Edwards said. “I’m closer than you are.”

Aldermen were unsure whether an ordinance was in place that deals with animals in the city limits other than dogs.

“I thought the only animals you can have in town were chickens,” Alderman Jim Wright said.

“Well, chickens produce eggs, but I have had people ask if we can do something about the chickens,” Edwards said.

“It is a goal to get rid of this donkey,” Slusser added. “He is a nuisance. The ducks can stay. The pigs can stay. The cats can stay. The dogs can stay.”

“If we are going to get rid of farm animals, we are going to get rid of all of them,” Edwards said. “We are not going to specify just donkeys.”

“Even if we put an ordinance in place, how do we enforce it, and won’t (the people who have farm animals in the city limits) be grandfathered in?” Alderman Sara Mengwasser asked.

Slusser and Water and Sewer Operator Justin Bathke went on to describe several dogs in the city limits that they believe are a nuisance and potentially dangerous.

City Clerk Megan Birmingham will research ordinances the city has that already cover farm animals and report back to the board.

Birmingham also reported that city resident Whitney Curtis called City Hall to complain that her neighbor’s dogs had killed two of her goats. The neighbor has apologized for the incident.

In other business, Chamois aldermen swore in a new member at their meeting last Wednesday night. Slusser filled the last vacant seat on the board.

Chamois received a Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) violation because Bathke does not have a license for either and should be working under a licensed operator. Bathke is currently taking classes so that he can take the tests to obtain the licenses.

“It wasn’t taken care of under the previous mayor,” Bathke said. “There was supposed to have been a contract drawn up for it.”

Bathke would like to work under Tim Flagg’s license, as they have worked together on several projects around the city.

Bathke will talk to Flagg about what type of retainer he would require, see if he is still interested, and bring that information back to the board.

• Bidding will open for drilling the city’s well on May 24 at 1 p.m. The new well will be drilled on the current City Well #2 site, an artisan well constantly producing water. Bathke hopes to divert the water down the hill from the new well site to Market Street. Bathke would like the city to continue trenching and moving the water down to Third Street. He noted that this would affect two driveways, and he wanted to be sure that was considered so homeowners could continue to access their properties.

“The plan is to try to take some pressure off the lagoon,” Bathke explained. “Because right now, our issue with our lagoon is that our influent is too clean, and it is making it harder on the system.”

Bathke believes he has enough metal and plastic pipe left over from other projects to go under the driveways.

Wright agreed and believed it might even help with some of the town’s drainage issues.

“They are going to have quite a bit of water to deal with,” Wright said.

Bathke also believes they could divert additional water into an existing creek if needed.

If more water still needs to be diverted, Bathke and Wright theorized that they could use the city’s sewer wastewater pump to send water off the back of the bluff.

“If the well-drillers get overwhelmed, we are covered on our end,” Bathke said. “I want to have a plan if they don’t.”

Bathke will pull out the sewer wastewater pump, replace or patch the tire, and ensure it is in working order. He believed that it does need some maintenance.

Bathke would like help with digging out the driveways since he has not previously operated the digging attachments on the backhoe.

“If anyone else can run that backhoe attachment, they need to do it because I ain’t ever run that, and I don’t have that much experience,” Bathke said.

Edwards believed he could find someone to help with that part of the project.

“I don’t care who does it as long as we keep this project running,” Bathke said. “I want to be ready and ahead of the game as much as possible.”

The city is still working on both a temporary easement for construction and a permanent easement for access from the Bed and Breakfast on the Hill owned by Debbie and Leroy Huff.

• Aldermen approved an additional $35 a month for Bathke to pay for a part of his cell phone and to add a hotspot so that he has easier access to the internet when he’s working on the city’s laptop. Bathke would like to get all the maps and information from the water project and upload it onto the city’s computer.

• Aldermen instructed Bathke to get additional sensors used to read water meters. Bathke reported that several had been accidentally broken but that some of them had been damaged intentionally, so he cannot read the water meter.

He questioned whether customers could be charged for intentionally damaging the sensors or water meters. If there was not a charge, he asked if it should be added to the water ordinance.

Wright was not sure it was necessary to list this in the water ordinance but agreed that customers should pay if they intentionally damaged meters or sensors.

“People do all kinds of stuff to avoid paying their water bill,” Wright said.

• Bathke needs to have the lawnmower repaired, as well as the tires on the skid steer.

• The city will start dealing with the drainage issues by digging ditches between Market and Locust Street.

• Aldermen voted to revoke the $25 per charge per game for using the City Park baseball field. Wright explained that the charge was supposed to help the city pay for part of the electric bill for the lights.

“If they help maintain it, why don’t we just get rid of the $25 charge?” Bathke asked. “It’s only $25. In the long run, that’s not much. I would really like to see that park go. It is a big part of the town. I love going down there. I think we all need to work on it as a community.”

Bathke went on to explain that he thinks the city should devise a ball field maintenance schedule and put that into a contract that any teams using the ball field would sign.

• Resident Dan Howard approached Edwards about putting up an American flag at the City Park.

“He wants a 40-foot pole and a four-foot concrete pad, and he is looking for donations,” Edwards said.

Howard estimates that the project would cost around $6,000.

Bathke raised concerns about vandalism in the park and how that would affect putting up the flag.

Edwards noted that other people had echoed this concern.

There is no consensus on exactly where the flagpole would be placed at this time.

In other park business, Edwards has resident Kenny Bleigh opening and closing the bathrooms at the park.

“He’s been volunteering,” Edwards explained. “He cleans them, restocks them in the morning, and closes them at night.”

Edwards has asked Bleigh to keep the bathrooms open later on nights when there are late ball games.

The mayor thought that besides fixing the ground for the camper area, the water heater is not working, the wax seals on the toilets need to be replaced, and water shut-offs need to be added to the toilets and sinks.

Bathke has suggested that the city have a metal rack placed in the camping area. City residents could cut up their extra wood and keep the rack filled for the campers to use.

Edwards wants to focus on the City Park when there are campers using the grounds.

“They are really happy when the bathrooms are left open,” Edwards said. “If people start tearing them up, I’ll shut them down.”

Edwards noted a security camera is pointed at the bathrooms from the Lions Club.

Alderman Lance Gerloff will contact an electrician to fix the camper hook-ups and the water heater and report back to the board.

• Wright wants to revoke the minimum charge for water and sewer he helped enact.

“Years ago, I made a minimum charge on them to make (the property owners) sell (the property), but it isn’t working, so we might as well do away with it,” Wright said. “We are just making people mad.”

“If they are unhappy, maybe they would sell, rent or fix up the properties,” Slusser suggested.

Birmingham explained that some properties charged the minimum fee have zero water usage. Bathke still checks these water meters to ensure they are at zero use in case of a leak. He has started to put locks on the meters that are completely shut off.

“Maybe we could just have them come in front of the board on a case-by-case basis if they are not using any water,” Wright suggested.

The minimum charge for water and sewer is $20.50 per month. There is a $10 charge for a disconnect and a $300 charge if the city is asked to pull the meter.

“So, if they came to the board and requested it be shut off, they wouldn’t have the charge to pull the meter?” Mengwasser asked.

“It would probably be cheaper in the long run just to lock them at the main,” Wright said. “There are people who aren’t even around here anymore, and they are still paying on their property. If there is no house there, there shouldn’t be a charge anyway.”

Wright is not sure how the minimum affects the city’s status with DNR and does not believe that the minimum is in the city ordinance but agrees both things need to be considered before aldermen vote to eliminate the minimum fee.

• Edwards recently attended a meeting with the Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) and was impressed with the organization. They have offered to attend the next board meeting and will help the city with anything they can.

• Edwards was shocked to find out that the city pays $180 per month for its phone lines and internet service. He is going to investigate getting this monthly bill reduced or going with another carrier.

• The mayor was approved as the new representative overseeing the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

• Gerloff was approved as an additional signer on the city accounts.

• Birmingham noted that city resident Savanah Wolfe had shown an interest in the city treasurer position. She will have Wolf submit a resume and references and set up a time for her to meet with aldermen for an interview.

• “Water Protection Plan” was listed as an item on the agenda, but it was tabled because no one could find the paperwork or knew what the item was about.

• Aldermen approved outstanding bills for the month totaling $11,586.69.

• Chamois had the following ending balances in their accounts: cemetery fund ($10,437.77), general fund ($49,260.53), water fund ($187,421.54), sewer fund ($94,677.85), Community Block Development Grant (CBDG) in and out ($1,250), city park ($3,331.59), sewer bond reserve ($26,716.98), sewer repair ($6,930.28), city cemetery ($20,523.06), meter deposits ($22,486.57), and water repair ($28,996.35).

• The next meeting is scheduled for June 14 at 7 p.m.