Residents quiz Jeff council about animal shelter

Circulating petition asking project to be ‘high priority’

The committee working toward building a new animal shelter will have “everything lined up and ready to roll” within the next two months, according to shelter committee chairman Dave Sloan. He provided that timetable at the July 11 city council meeting after residents quizzed the council about progress on the project.

Johnetta Harms during the open forum asked for an update. “We did have a bit of a setback,” said council member Dave Sloan, a member of the committee. “We’re afraid that’s money we’re not going to be able to raise.” He said the committee is looking at two existing buildings for potential use as a shelter.

When Harms asked where a new shelter is on the city’ priority list, Sloan said it is not on the list at this time, but it will be next year, and that it’s getting a lot of attention at this time.

Council member Harry Ahrenholtz said an operating budget has been problematic, noting that the city will need to bear most of the operating cost. He said the committee is getting closer to a budget. He said the county will have some involvement, but any money coming from other towns will be minimal.

Resident Adrienne Smith, a longtime advocate for companion animals, challenged council members to volunteer at the current shelter for a week. She had no takers. Berry told her the committee is meeting frequently. “The city doesn’t move as fast as people would like, but we’re moving on it,” he said. “We’re working as fast as we can.”

Resident Phyllis Crowder asked about the possibility of getting funds from Grow Greene County. Sloan said there may be an application for funds in the future.

Crowder and Smith were at the farmers market prior to the meeting, collecting signatures on a petition to the city council.

The petition states, “We, the citizens of Jefferson, Iowa, respectfully ask the city council of Jefferson to make the construction of a new animal shelter a high priority. The current shelter is old and inadequate. We believe a new shelter would serve the community well, making it more progressive and suitable for the present and anticipated growth of the community.”

The plan to have the petition available at the county fair later this week. Their goal is to demonstrate the level of support for the project among Jefferson residents.

Paul Keeland

In other business, the council approved hiring Paul Keeland as a patrol officer for the police department. He replaces Kyle Terlouw, who was hired last August, attended the Law Enforcement Academy this past winter, and has already left the department for employment elsewhere.

Keeland was born and raised in Texas. He currently works at the prison in Fort Dodge. He holds an associate’s degree and will attend the Law Enforcement Academy early next year. His wife is a Fort Dodge police officer. Keeland said they expect to live between the two towns, perhaps in Gowrie.

Keeland will start July 17 at an annual wage of $40,504.

Building and zoning officer Nick Sorenson reported that demolition started on the interior of the former Pizza Ranch on Tuesday. The contractors will spend about two weeks on the demo. At that time the electrical system in the building will be assessed “and we’ll go from there,” Sorenson said.

The meeting was the first for appointee Matt Wetrich. He was sworn in by city clerk Diane Kennedy prior to the meeting.



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