Mobile City Councilman Fred Richardson wants to ban certain forms of animal tethering within the city and he hopes a number of his colleagues will agree with him when the proposed ordinance gets debated early next year.
Richardson has introduced an ordinance on Tuesday’s agenda that would make it illegal to chain a dog to a stake in a yard when the dog’s owners are not present, he said during a pre-conference meeting.
“You can’t have them chained all day and all night,” Richardson said.
Councilman John Williams asked colleagues if this was an issue in other districts because he said he had not heard about the issue happening in District 4.
“If I put my dog on a stake and it’s good, who is the government to tell me it’s illegal?” he asked. “Animal abuse is against the law, period.”
Councilwoman Bess Rich said she hadn’t heard a complaint about tethering dogs, but barking dogs are an issue in District 6.
Councilors took up the issue and voted to hold over a decision until Jan. 19. Following the meeting on that day, Richardson announced a public safety committee meeting to discuss the issue more.
In other business, Mayor Sandy Stimpson announced the Battle House in downtown Mobile was named the best historic hotel in the country by Historic Hotels of America.
“That’s a pretty big deal,” Stimpson told councilors. “I mean, that’s amazing.”
The Battle House opened in 1852, Stimpson said, and has been welcoming international guests as “Mobile’s living room” since then. Stimpson noted the hotel was shuttered for more than 30 years. It was refurbished and reopened by the Retirement Systems of Alabama in 2007.
Executive Director of Finance Paul Wesch told councilors during the monthly financial report the city had actually done better than expected over the last two months in both revenue and expenses when compared to last year.
Tax revenue is up $800,000 over the same period last year and overall expenditures are down $1.6 million total.
“It looks like we are having a good start to the fiscal year,” he said.
However, the city has spent $24 million in recovery from hurricanes this year, Wesch said. All but about $7 million of that should be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“Our overperformance in revenue and underperformance in expenditures can help with that,” he said.
Tax revenue in the city’s police jurisdiction is far outpacing revenue collection in other areas, Wesch said. From 2019 to 2020, the city’s tax revenue overall increased by 4 percent. However, to the west of the city, revenue increased by 18 percent.
The council also announced two more committee meetings that would take place near the first of the year.
Councilwoman Gina Gregory announced a meeting of the administrative services committee at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 5 to discuss a proposed ordinance to regulate short-term rentals, like Airbnb.
Councilman Joel Daves announced a finance committee meeting to take place on Jan. 12 at the conclusion of the regular council meeting to discuss an ordinance to further regulate food trucks.
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