Animal control panel’s findings to be discussed

By EVAN YOUNG

The Crestwood Board of Aldermen recently voted to discuss the Animal Control Study Committee’s findings at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 13, at the Government Center, 1 Detjen Drive.

Aldermen voted 4-3 March 9 to place animal control on the agenda for the first meeting in April. Ward 1 Alderman Mimi Duncan, Ward 2 Alderman Chris Pickel and Ward 4 Aldermen Deborah Beezley and John Foote were in favor.

Ward 1 Alderman Darryl Wallach and Ward 3 Aldermen Jerry Miguel and Paul Duchild were opposed. Ward 2 Alderman Jeff Schlink was absent from the board’s March 9 meeting.

The Animal Control Study Committee — comprised of Duncan, Wallach, Schlink and Beezley — was created last November after aldermen deadlocked 4-4 on Miguel’s motion to remove the animal control officer from the 2010 budget. City officials have recommended doing so and instead using St. Louis County animal control services to reduce annual expenses.

The committee met three times from December to February, and last month presented aldermen with its findings, including a table that compares Crestwood’s animal control program with that of the county.

“The next step is up to the Board of Aldermen,” said Duncan, who chaired the committee. “If it wants it to be for consideration at the next meeting (March 23) then let’s do that … My understanding is the charge of our committee was just to provide the information and the next step is all of us deciding what to do with the information that we gathered.”

Miguel asked aldermen March 9 if animal control could be discussed at the March 23 meeting, but Foote said the issue needed to be “very carefully looked at” because so many Crestwood residents have pets.

“It would seem to me that as a good portion of our residents have pets, and some of them treat them pretty much like family, that this issue’s got to be very carefully looked at,” Foote said. “The 2010 budget is in place, and at this particular point in time the city’s finances are covering the budget adequately … I would suggest this would get into the April period of time so that everything is considered. That would be my opinion.”

“I think it would behoove all of us to spend a fair amount of time looking at all of this material making sure we’ve done our full due diligence,” Beezley said. “And I agree, I think early April would probably be the best.”

But Miguel suggested the board start discussing animal control while the information from the committee was still “fresh.”

“This discussion could really start this evening,” he said. “… And it could start right now, really. I mean granted, there’s a lot of information there but … the material is fresh. Now is the time to go for it.”

Calling a point of order, Pickel questioned whether it was appropriate to discuss animal control when it wasn’t on that evening’s agenda.

City Attorney Rob Golterman said it wasn’t improper to discuss on which upcoming meeting’s agenda should animal control be placed, but the board should not get into the “substance” on an “item that’s just brought up under old business without some advance notification.”

Pickel later motioned that the matter be placed on the April 13 meeting agenda, but Duchild questioned whether the alderman had the floor to do so.

“Point of order, mayor,” Duchild said. “Alderman Pickel’s light was not on. He did not have the floor to make that motion.”

“You don’t control the lights here. I do,” Mayor Roy Robinson replied.

Duchild said, “He didn’t have the floor. I’m calling a point of order …”

“If you’re wanting to cause an argument, that’s wrong,” Robinson said. “But you don’t sit over there and tell me whether lights are on or not.”

“Alderman Wallach clearly had the floor — point of order, that’s all,” Duchild said.

“Well the order is fine with me,” Robinson said.