By Mollie LaSalle
WOODVILLE – Woodville City Council met for its first meeting of the new year Monday evening. All members were present, and the meeting was called to order by mayor Bythewood at 6 p.m.
Resident Rusty Kuciemba spoke before council again about possibly amending the ordinance pertaining the keeping of backyard chickens within city limits. He wants it amended to include chickens within 25 feet from a residence.
The present ordinance requires that chickens and other livestock be kept at least 200 feet from a residence. “Backyard chickens produce their own eggs, and people in Woodville should have the ability to have their own chickens.”
He also stressed that this would preclude roosters and would like to have some sort of resolution to this matter before March, when Tractor Supply starts getting chicks in for spring. Kuciemba had previously brought this matter before council last summer, and at the time wanted the ordinance amended to 50 feet.
The first item on the regular agenda was a proclamation by the mayor declaring January as National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Bythewood commented that this touched her on a personal level, and “it’s not if it happens here, it’s when.”
Two agenda items that were extensively discussed were the In-Car Video System Upgrade and the Body Worn Camera Upgrade at the police department. Woodville Police Chief Mike McCulley spoke of the need for the grants to get this equipment upgraded in the near future. McCulley requested that the grants, which go through the office of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division be approved.
McCulley estimated the cost to upgrade all the equipment (in-car video and body worn cameras) would be $110-120K. This equipment has a 10-year life expectancy. “We’ve been limping along for the last 6-8 months, the cameras are failing, and we have had to replace some of them; two have failed and been replaced, at a cost of $500 each. We need to get the best equipment at the best price. The grants would pay at 100% for the in-car cameras, and the body worn cameras pay at 75%, so at least $100K of the price would be covered by the grant money.”
After much discussion among council, the resolutions were passed unanimously, citing the importance of having up to date equipment in the city’s patrol units.
In her regular report, City Administrator Mandy Risinger spoke to council at length about the next cycle of CDBG funding through the Texas Department of Agriculture, and all the various projects that the city has on deck. Council passed both ordinances to allow the city to begin the process of applying for grants in the next cycle.