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City nixes allowing chickens at this time

After about a couple months of lengthy discussions, the Vandalia City Council failed to pursue further on allowing chickens within its city limits during its regular meeting Monday night.

The issue of permitting chickens has been a topic for the last several council meetings, beginning with the Feb. 6 public comments when Krista

Alderman Russ Stunkel started the discussion on Monday, stating that he had polled some citizens and was basing his vote on their concerns.

“I did some questioning in my ward,” Stunkel said. “I found overwhelmingly that people were not in favor of it. They said no.”

Alderman Bret Brosman continued with his opposition, which he had voiced at the Feb. 21 meeting. He said he had no problem with backyard chickens except for the potential problem that may result from irresponsible owners.

“I think 75 percent of the people who would take advantage of this would be wonderful stewards of what is an incredibly good backyard hobby,” Brosman said. “It’s the 25 percent that would create a problem that we never had to deal with. I’m still a no vote.”

Alderman Andy Lester said he didn’t see the advantage to “bringing chickens in.”

“I guess I’m in the camp of ‘Well, if it’s not broke,’” he said. “I’m a no vote because of that.

Alderman Steve Barker said those he asked in his ward were indifferent on the issue, adding “the majority didn’t even know it was an issue.” Alderman Ken Hubler also said he was not in favor of an ordinance at this time because of the possibility of increased pests and varmints in the area.

Assistant Police Chief Jake Bowling said his biggest concern is what to do in case of a problem. “Animal Control is not going to take them,” he said.

There were three aldermen – Kenny Lewey, Joel Rebbe and Mike Hubler – who were not in attendance.

The proper pecking order would be to refer the issue to the Planning Commission, which would then discuss it further and return a recommendation back to the city council for a vote. Brosman made a motion to send it to the commission, but since the motion failed to secure a second, after Mayor Rick Gottman called for it three times, the matter died on the council floor.

In other council news, the city approved the purchase of a water utility truck from Hecht Chevrolet in Vandalia for $59,563. The truck is a 2023 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 DBL Cab with a utility bed.

The council also approved a resolution approving an agreement between the city and Payment Services Network Inc.

City Clerk Carla Huhn said the payment services would be available for boat stickers, building permits and water deposits. The office had already used the system for reconnections, and Huhn said the process has gone well. The city will also be able to take American Express credit cards for payment.

“That’s good for the customer, and that’s good for us,” she said.