Tuesday, October 23, 2012

TOP STORY >> Council approves dogs in parks

Leader staff writer

The Jacksonville City Council last week approved an ordinance allowing dogs on most park trails in the city. But “animals are specifically prohibited from the community center, skate park and farmers’ market pavilion, including the walking trails present at those park facilities.”

The exception will be service animals. City ordinances, already in the books, require animals to be on a leash and that the owner properly dispose of the animals’ waste.

In other business:

• Police Chief Gary Sipes told the council that his department responded to almost 1,000 fewer complaint calls this September compared to September 2011. The department received 3,493 complaint calls, made 389 arrests and served 214 warrants.

Tracking the most violent crimes, Sipes’ report shows the city had no homicides in September, but did have one reported sexual assault, six robberies, 16 felony assaults, 26 burglaries, 86 thefts and six vehicle thefts.

In his code enforcement report, Sipes said officers had 78 assigned calls and 436 initiated calls in September.

Officers wrote 69 violation letters or notices, removed 105 illegal placed signs, and tagged six properties and seven vehicles for noncompliance during the month.

Also, two structures were condemned and three houses were demolished by the city. Seven were demolished by the owners.

• In his monthly report, Fire Chief John Vanderhoof told the council his department responded to 275 rescue calls, 59 still alarms, 29 general alarms and had 275 ambulance runs in September. He said fire loss for September was estimated at $144,000, while fire savings was placed at $169,000.

• The council approved two bids for the new public safety building. Aldermen said yes to spending $26,776 with SouthWest Solutions for new evidence lockers and related equipment and another $63,025 with Pettus Office to furnish the new facility.

• Aldermen approved rezoning five acres at 1701 General Samuels Road from M-2 (manufacturing ) to C-2 (light commercial). Landmark Baptist, which owns the property, has sold it to the Arkansas Federal Credit Union. The church plans to build a bigger facility on adjacent acreage. The credit union will use the five acres for a financial institution or offices.