The Shirley City Council met Monday, March 13. Topics included animal control and the moving the baseball/softball management out of the city’s control.


Animal control discussion involved the requirements for a leash law. Mayor Hackett explained to the council that the problem with animal control as it was that the city had not specific animal control ordinance on the books, and in turn when animal control was called they were not able to act, due to the lack of ordinance.


This brought up further consideration as one member of the audience pointed out her dog would freely visit other homes in the town - which would be prevented by a leash requirement. All agreed, however, that something needed to be done, specifically to stray dogs in the Sam Street area, and further problems with animal dumping.


Councilman David Cook had prepared an ordinance for the board, but after discussion the board determined its best course was adopting county ordinance 2013-09, the Van Buren County Animal Control ordinance.


The problem was, not determined until after the meeting, was that 2013-09 was no longer in effect in the county, having been made inactive after the animal shelter moved to a board format, per Justice Dale James of the Van Buren County Quorum Court. Regardless, in a subsequent, separate, interview both Hackett and animal control officer Rita Tharp said they were working on capturing and otherwise controlling stray dogs in the town since the council’s vote. Tharp said she has a live-trap out now in the Sam Street area.


“We’re going to keep working on it,” Hackett said.


In the baseball/softball field management, Hackett announced a local group has formed an association, with committee, to take over operations of the ball fields. Councilman Randall Gardner pointed out several concerns, including moving the account currently managed by the city over to the group, since it would be the city presenting money to a non-government organization. He expressed further concern that the management of cash flow for such an organization - based on his experience - is critical in keeping ball sports viable.


Specific actions on the cash transfer were tabled for the next meeting.


In other council matters:


The Mayor is going to organize a fundraiser so the recently purchased city buildings can have separate power going into each one, versus the one meter into several buildings currently in place.


The main bridge coming into town was judged “safe” after inspecting by the state highway department, scoring five out of a possible seven. Options were discussed, and ongoing, to upgrade the water line crossing with the bridge.


Homecoming rates were established for different vendor types.


A trash dumping ordinance for the city is forthcoming.