A Paxton couple has asked the city council to reconsider its stance on allowing hens within city limits. Dale Wise and Kristen Larson, who recently bought a home on South Washington, said there are many reasons why backyard chickens are a good thing.
They said they are educational, good for FFA and Scout projects, part of a sustainable life style, are not loud or smelly and require little space. Raising them is not cheap so not everyone would make the effort and hens make good pets.
The couple said they were “starting a conversation” and so gave the aldermen packets with other area towns’ ordinances allowing hens and a fact sheet outlining seven false myths about urban chickens. No one has come before the council in person asking permission for hens. Instead residents over the years have inquired about it to their representatives. The last time the issue was raised this past summer, the council informally put the kibosh on the idea. In recent years, several residents have quietly raised hens and city officials haven’t sanctioned them.
Also employee Bob Carleton reported that the city has decided to proceed with the repair of sidewalks in house. He said that by the city buying the concrete and the employees doing the work, four times the sidewalk work can be done than by paying a contractor. The city budget allows $40,000 for sidewalk replacement this fiscal year.
Carleton said some 100 water meter heads have been replaced so far. He said when residents aren’t home when employees come calling, door-hangers are left urging residents to call city hall to make appointments for the meter work.
Also Mayor Bill Ingold said the city will pay a contractor about $10,000 a block for the 100 and 200 blocks of North Market Street to have portions milled and replaced with a layer of asphalt in the downtown. Paxton’s big downtown street replacement project has been delayed till at least next summer.
Also the council made permanent the designation of 5-8 p.m. as trick or treat hours on Halloween evening. Ingold said it’s up to the parents to allow their children out or not and if homeowners don’t wish to participate, they should not turn on their porchlights. The council agreed there was no need to bring the matter up for a vote every year.
Also the council agreed that Ingold should contact the charity that owns the drop-off box at the fire station to remove it. Dumping of garbage has been a problem there. It was noted that boxes in other parts of town don’t have the dumping problem.
Also the council:
--directed Ingold to contact the two contractors who returned bids to paint the clock tower to explain the bids. One came in at $18,000 and the other at $69,000.
--learned from Chief Coy Cornett that warrants obtained enabled the city to hire a contractor to clean up properties at 404 S. Market and 640 E. Patton and place liens against the properties. Another warrant is being sought for 110 W. Spruce. Also the council approved the purchase of a mobile radio repeating system by Cornett for $25,511 from Supreme Radio Communications, Inc., money in Cornett’s budget.
--heard from chamber of commerce president Alan Meyer that the recent wine and chocolate event was successful. 140 tickets were sold, including to many out of towners. Meyer said Nov. 7 is the day for the Eat, Drink, Shop event whereby residents purchase gift cards from various businesses and their purchase will be matched by donors to the chamber program. A previous program was wildly successful.
--approved redevelopment agreements with Paxton Hospitality LLC, for $32,440, half the cost of a remodeling project there, and with Paxton Packing, LLC, for $18,000, half the cost of a roofing project. Money will be paid out in five installments to each with income from the tax increment financing district fund.
The TIF joint review board will meet Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. in council chambers. Ingold reported that a building on 247 N. Railroad has been sold and one of the dental offices in town will move there. That building had once housed a dollar store. Ingold said also that someone plans to open a seed and feed store at 108 W. State.