Manila Council hears complaints about peacocks

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Thomas Williams served as a spokesman for several of the residents in the Farmer Addition in Manila requesting assistance from the City of Manila in relocating peacocks. Five residents from the neighborhood accompanied Williams to the city council meeting Monday, Oct. 21, expressing their concern and desire to have the peacocks moved from the neighborhood.

Williams said the peacocks had increased in number and have become a nuisance causing damage to vehicles, going from roof to roof, getting in swimming pools, messing up lawn furniture, entering garages and making so much noise children cannot sleep.

"I have had people tell me they would not look at a house in our neighborhood because of the peacocks," Williams said. "It is reducing the value of our property."

He also pointed out the peacocks can be a health hazard. Williams said he caught one of the baby peacocks in a trap in his garage and safely relocated it. He said since that one was caught, none of the others will get in the trap. He said the number of peacocks is presently down to five, three females and two males.

He has gone door to door and at least 75 percent of the people he talked to want the peacocks out of the neighborhood.

"I collected 51 signatures from 32 houses requesting the birds be relocated," Williams said.

Mayor Wagner asked if there was anyone present on the opposite side and wanting the peacocks.

Councilman Tony Hawkins, representative of the district, said he had talked to some of the neighborhood residents who do not have a problem with the peacocks.

"We had the city attorney research the problem and basically peacocks are wild," Mayor Wagner said. "You will need to One resident said there is a lady in Blytheville who will take the peacocks. Several said they would allow the city animal control officer to come on their property to catch the peacocks.

Councilman Hawkins said if anyone wants to claim the peacocks, then they will need to keep them up and be responsible for the damage.

Councilman Larry "Whiz" Davis made a motion to do what the city can do legally to relocate the birds. The motion passed unanimously. Mayor Wagner said he would have an animal control officer contact them.

The council discussed a variance request from Carl Counts. Councilman Hawkins said he has signatures from neighbors claiming no objections to the variance for a garage/storage building he wants to put on his property.

"Do they have guidelines in the subdivision," Councilman Donnie Wager asked.

Mayor Wagner agreed if there is a certified subdivision map on record, the city will need to know. It would override any decision made by the council.

The council voted in favor of granting the variance if there are no subdivision restrictions on file. Mayor Wagner said he would check at the courthouse.

Councilwoman Linda Donovan updated the council on the opening of the therapeutic pool which opened on Monday. She said they had 15 attending the first day with 31 signed up.

"Right now we are allowing the seniors from the senior center to come for $1 a week, one, two or three days a week until we get ready for the new year," Donovan said.

She said they need a few more runners, rubber mats and chairs.

"We need to determine the ticket price for a day and for season passes for next year at the swimming pool," Mayor Wagner said. "We need to make the decision by the November meeting. We know it will have to be more than $3."

Mayor Wagner said once the cost of the season ticket price is set, Manila residents can have the option to have it put on their water bill and paid for over the year.

Following a short executive session, the council voted to hire Billie Sue Misner part time at a rate of $10 per hour to work at the therapeutic pool. They also voted to hire Drew Byford on the police department with a starting salary of $24,000. Once he is certified his salary will increase to $25,000.

In other business:

*The Manila Christmas Parade will be held on Dec. 7 starting at 6 p.m. Line-up will be 5 p.m. Mayor Wagner asked council members to share any ideas on the event. It will be held on Pearl Harbor Day and a patriotic theme will be used. Wagner asked the council to be thinking of someone to serve as Grand Marshal, and decorations.

*The Council voted to give Mayor Wagner the authority to move forward on the sewer project west of town if the 80/20 grant comes through.

*Mayor Wagner announced the grant for the walking trail has been approved and the architect is getting ready to request bids. It will be a half mile, 8 foot wide concrete walk/jogging track.

*Mayor Wagner updated the council on the park office renovations. The old swimming pool building is being turned in to park office. He said when the old terminal building is torn down the tinted windows can be used in the office building.

"We have done a lot, but we have a lot more to do," Mayor Wagner said. "The community center needs painting and a new roof."

*The council discussed street paving. Delta Asphalt will be in town resurfacing the runway at the airport. Mayor Wagner said the work at the airport is done through federal grants and at no cost to the city. While they are in town, the city plans to have several streets paved. Councilman Hawkins said they can do as much as possible with the funds. The council voted 5-0 to pave what is on the list as far as the funding will allow.

*The next meeting will begin at 6 p.m. due to the time change. Manila City Council meets the third Monday of each month.

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