Stray cats and sidewalks dominate city council meeting
Stray cats and sidewalks dominated the Brazil City Council meeting Wednesday. Both issues were brought up by residents who attended the meeting.
Regina Paullus, 20 S. Pine Street, first raised the issue of sidewalks.
She said flooding is an issue in her neighborhood after heavy rains.
Paullus also asked why the house at 102 S. Pine St. was allowed to deteriorate when “no one has lived there for 35 years.”
Now, the house is overrun with stray cats, she said.
She hesitates to call the police department because, “our police officers do not need to make animal control calls,” she said. “We could take the easy route like our friends and move out of the city.”
Mayor Brian Wyndham explained the procedure to get rid of blighted houses. They have to be determined to be an unsafe building and the owner has the option of fixing the building or the city will tear it down.
When a property ownership changes, the process has to start over, the mayor said. It may take two years to complete the process and tear down the building.
The mayor said the city has money to fix sidewalks and handicapped persons go to the top of the list.
Paullus said a young man who lives in the neighborhood with special needs sometimes has to stand in water ankle-deep while waiting for a bus in the morning.
The mayor said the procedure to make complaints about stray cats or dogs is to call the police department.
“Our police officers are the ones who said, let us us take care of it,” Mayor Wyndham said.
The animal shelter does not take calls from individuals in the community.
When Paullus mentioned a TV news report last week that said their neighborhood was getting new sidewalks, the mayor said the TV crew taped a portion of the city that is not currently eligible for sidewalk repairs and the reporter claimed that area was having sidewalks fixed. But the area receiving sidewalk repairs is along Jackson Street.
David Hopkins, 738 W. Craig Ave., Parkview Estates, also addressed the city council, proposing speed limits be set at either 20 or 25 mph and better signage installed. He also asked for more fire hydrants in the neighborhood.
Craig Avenue is cracked with grass growing in it and there is no drain system, he said.
Mayor Wyndham said speed limit signs “are an easy solution but signs won’t fix it.” He said the drainage situation is “a tougher issue.”
The city has just applied for a storm water planning grant. The results will help the city plan to solve the drainage issue.
Carrie McMillan, 203 Alabama St., added to what was said earlier in the meeting about stray cats.
McMillan said a woman in her neighborhood puts out cans of food to feed “a hundred cats each day.” The food is also attracting groundhogs which are “out of control.”
The large number of cat food cans in the yard was verified by another person who was present.
“Cats are a wide-spread problem wherever you go,” the mayor said.
“I don’t want those cats pooping in my yard,” McMillan said.
The mayor said a letter has been given to the woman feeding the cats indicating she is breaking the city code by doing so. The mayor also said a state legal ruling has been made that if a person feeds stray animals they become the legal owner of those animals. There is a limit how many animals each person can have in the city.
“It’s a people problem we’re dealing with,very irresponsible people,” the mayor said.
“If we do something to harm the animals, obviously we’re going to be in trouble,” one person commented.
“I don’t have an answer right now,” the mayor said.
In other business:
• The council took under advisement a request to make both sides of McDonald Street behind the former SOS building a no parking area to protect the safety of Launch Academy students. Launch Academy pre-school is renting the building.
• The city council saw a presentation on branding for the City of Brazil: How to present the city’s best image.
• An ordinance passed 5-0 on second reading to remove the requirement that the city’s park board had to have two persons of each political party. The revision was made following the lead of Indiana’s legal code.
• An ethics ordinance passed 5-0 on second reading that is to make it illegal for city officials to hire family members and to do other things considered unethical. This ordinance, too, was passed following a similar ordinance on the state level.