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Slater City Council discusses 'property rights,' animal ordinance

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Slater City Council approved a resolution requesting that citizens not sign petitions from Missouri Citizens for Property Rights and discussed additions to the city's animal ordinance during its meeting Tuesday evening, July 21.

The resolution was drafted by City Attorney Pat Cronan, who gave the board a summary of the efforts of MCPR.

The group's stated mission, he said, is to stop eminent domain abuse in Missouri. But, he continued, the proposed amendment "would have minimal impact upon eminent domain procedures," and instead does more to stop the regulation of "nuisances" such as tall weeds, junk in citizens' yards, derelict houses and sexually oriented businesses. He called the proposal "essentially, a 'Slumlord's Bill of Rights.'"

After a full reading of the resolution by Cronan, the council unanimously approved it.

Beverly Kitchen spoke to the council regarding the city's animal ordinance, outlining several problems she saw. These problems included no mention of dogs in the section on animals at large and an open-ended definition of "animal neglect" and "animal abuse."

She then spoke about Marshall's recently adopted animal ordinance, speaking of some of its strengths and some of its weaknesses.

Cronan told the board he is "not very excited about touching that ordinance," because approval of the current ordinance came only after "several 5- to 6-hour meetings" of the city council attended by those who want to control animals and those who do not wish to have their animals controlled.

"I'm not here to cause a problem," said Kitchen, "but I really do think this needs to be updated ... for the safety of our dogs."

She went on to say she found the condition of one dog in town "sickening."

Mayor Stephen Allegri arranged to meet with Kitchen to discuss additions to, and better definitions for, the ordinance. He hopes to bring a proposal to the council at its next meeting.

Cronan asked that they avoid words such as "adequate" and "sufficient," saying they are "weasel words" upon which reasonable people can hold differing definitions.

In the mayor's report, Allegri spoke about upcoming events in Slater.

A fall festival fundraiser will be held Saturday, July 25, from 8 p.m. to midnight at the park. There will be two bands and a beer garden, and entry to the event will cost $5. Participants are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets, but no coolers, dogs or persons younger than 21 will be allowed, Allegri said.

All the funds raised will go toward the fall festival.

"Each year, it's costing more money but bringing in the same," Allegri said of the festival, adding that it is "an important part of the town's heritage."

He added that the city is in need of volunteers for the festival.

A tractor pull will take place beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1. at Airport Industrial Park. The event is free, and concessions will be sold by Slater Optimist Club.

Saturday, Aug. 22, will see an R/C airplane fly-in in Slater. Allegri said remote-controlled planes up to 3/4 of actual size will come from a three-state area to fly at the Airport Industrial Park.

"It'll be like watching a regular air show, but they'll be remote-controlled," Allegri said.

Though some flyers will stay for Sunday, Aug. 23, "the main thing will be the 22nd," said Allegri.

The council discussed settlement of a lawsuit against AT&T in which the company agreed to pay cities a sum because of a failure to pay them a set percentage of gross receipts on certain incomes.

Cronan explained the company had decided, without contacting any of the affected cities, that "certain things do not constitute 'gross receipts.'"

Slater will receive $27,212.76 from this settlement.

Cronan said signing an ordinance would be the best way to deal with this income, though he did not bring his prepared ordinance to the meeting. The ordinance will be signed at the next council meeting.

Allegri spoke about the approval of Slater's Enhanced Enterprise Zone, which was a one-year process from start to finish, he said. This zone will give the city "more tools to try to attract jobs to the area."

Council members Terry Jordan, Cathie Jeffries, Ruby Romine, Brownell Bryant, Harry Lightfoot, Matt Campbell and Brett Heymeyer were present for the meeting; Ron Monnig was absent.

The council's next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4, in the council chambers at Slater City Hall.

Contact Geoff Rands at marshallreporter@socket.net

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Did you notice that Slater can have a beer garden to produce revenue for the fall festival and Marshall won't even allow a beer garden and band after the fair is over to help produce revenue for upkeep at the fairgrounds. Bet several dollars of Marshall Citizens' money will be spent in Slater. Oh Well-----guess that's how it will be--see you in Slater!!

-- Posted by farmerwife on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 10:19 AM

What is it about Slater? They seem to have all the great festivals and activities. Why is it that right here in Marshall, there isn't anything entertaining to do, no outdoor concerts-nothing. And people wonder why Marshallites leave town for their entertainment.

-- Posted by luvthoseowls on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 3:36 PM

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