The story of Percy and Chester, Burton’s two resident peacocks, remains unresolved.
The decision from the council came after hearing from several citizens, who spoke both for and against having the birds freely roam the city. Additional chairs had to be brought into the council chambers to accommodate everyone who attended the meeting.
Some talked about the inconvenience of having the peacocks come close by their homes or businesses and the noise factor, while others said the city does benefit from having the birds as a tourism element.
Councilmember Jerry Martin said the city has people who really want the peacock population, and others who the peacocks are a nuisance to. He said there needs to be a way to keep them in the areas where they’re being fed. However, several people admitted to feeding the peacocks at some point, and said the birds are basically stray dogs.
The council and the public both went over steps homeowners can take to keep the peacocks from entering their yards or other off-limit area. Some of the proposed ideas included setting up fencing, using moth ball barriers or predator urine.
City Attorney Aaron Kleinschmidt will present a new animal control ordinance to the city in October. City Secretary Angela Harrington said the ordinance will have more lengthy explanation on the city’s status as a bird sanctuary.
Harrington said the ordinance should go into more detail on protection for the birds, but also control methods and steps for the city to take, depending on if the birds become pests or cause irritation. She said the outcome may not make everybody happy.
One citizen said he does not think this is an issue of black and white, due to all the sides of the matter. He said this is not something that can be “animal controlled” off, but that there are things the town can collectively do to make things easier on everyone.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the council:
- Adopted a property tax rate of 50 cents per $100 valuation, resulting in a 10 cent maintenance and operations (M&O) rate, and a 40 cent debt services (I&S) rate. Adoption of the rate was adopted on a 4-1 vote with Councilmember Jerry Martin voting against. Martin said he needed more information on the breakdown of the M&O and I&S rates.
- Heard a report of the 2018-19 Fiscal Year audit as presented by Medack and Oltmann, LLP. James Medack told the council that, for the year, the city had an increase of revenues over expenditures of $114,557. He said the bulk of the revenues came from property taxes and fines and fees. At the end of the year, the city had total assets of roughly $408,000 and liabilities of $93,000. The city also had a positive fund balance of $173,951. Medack also noted that the city had budgeted about $280,000 in revenues, but only collected about $186,000. However, the city’s expenditures only totaled $176,000, so the city was under budget by $10,000. He said these numbers put Burton in the positive, and are typical numbers of a small city that Medack and Oltmann deals with.
- Removed an agenda item pertaining to an objection to the council’s decision on a right-of-way infringement for the Burton Roadhouse. Last month, the council approved the addition of a patio / deck that extends into the city’s right-of-way. The city will move forward with the lease agreement approved at last month’s meeting.
- Approved the closure of streets around the fire department including North Brazos, North Colorado, Washington and Texas Streets on September 15th from noon to 4 p.m., for the Central Texas District meeting of state firefighters and fire marshalls.
- Approved selling of a seized vehicle via Govdeals.com. Mayor David Zajicek said 70 percent of proceeds of the sale will go to the city.