The Fountain City Council voted 2:1 on December 1, with Mayor Jim Schott not voting and Councilor Colleen Fohrenbacher unable to vote, under Schott’s direction, to uphold its current ordinances banning chickens within city limits.
“We need to have a vote on whether or not to discuss chickens,” said Schott. “Colleen, you can’t vote because you brought it up.” Fohrenbacher brought up the suggestion at the November meeting that the council review the issue, due to public request, and consider crafting an ordinance allowing laying hens only. At the time, she offered to visit properties seeking permitting, issue permits, and act as “chicken police” if issues arose.
As Schott called for votes around the table, both councilors Dave Gudmundson and Terry Hanson were decidedly against, while Councilor Ron Reisner was the lone yes vote. “They can have them as far as I’m concerned.”
Schott noted the 2:1 vote and started to move on. “Isn’t there any ability for us to have more discussion to craft something that would work or is there just no discussion?” asked Fohrenbacher.
“We can take it up next year. We’re going to leave the chicken ordinance as is,” responded Schott.
Other council action included certifying unpaid utility charges to Fillmore County for collection through property tax payment. According to City Clerk Mary Tjepkes, there were just two properties past due. The total amount of the two is $1,566. Miner further clarified that the properties are an issue repeatedly. If paid within 30 days from adoption of the council resolution, payment by December 30, 2021, the city will notify the county of payment.
The council also discussed aluminum can collection in the city. “The can thing… does the city have to deal with it or what?” asked Councilor Terry Hanson. “All we need to do is haul it out.”
According to Schott, any civic organization in the Fountain area, particularly youth organizations, is welcome to the cans if they agree to haul them to the recycling center in Rochester.
The last time cans were taken in, the $163 of profit didn’t match the time and cost of city workers to bag and load them into a truck and haul them in. “We probably lost money,” added Tjepkes. Interested persons or organizations should contact city hall.
Also present at the meeting was Fountain Fire Chief Jason Wright. He notified the council that the department had ordered a new truck three weeks prior. “It’ll be 18-20 months before it gets here,” said Wright of the mini-pumper. “We’re going to get rid of the truck that people either can’t drive or are scared to.”
When asked about the long timeline, Wright clarified that the department had been looking for a new rig for over two years before finding an option to get this unit sooner. “Otherwise we’re looking at 2025 to get one built,” he said. “The cost was $300,000, but we knocked almost $50,000 off by removing things we didn’t need or want.” The council thanked Wright for the update.
Thanks were also expressed by the council to Tjekpes and Public Works’ John Hanson for work during the last year.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Wednesday, January 5, at 7 p.m., at city hall. The meeting is open to the public.