The LaGrange City Council could relax the rules on its pit bull dogs ordinance, allowing non-aggressive dogs to be adopted from the city’s animal shelter.
Currently, if a pit bull is captured by animal control running at large – and doesn’t display signs of aggression – and its owner doesn’t reclaim it in 10 days, the dogs are put down. Only the owner may reclaim the dog and it can’t be put up for adoption with the shelter’s general population.
The city would like to see non-aggressive dogs be adopted when possible, when not claimed by their owners. Aggressive dogs still would be put down.
“It’s great when someone is willing to take in one of these animals,” Mayor Jeff Lukken said.
There currently is a pit bull dog at the shelter who hasn’t been claimed by its original owner and doesn’t show signs of aggression. A LaGrange woman would like to adopt it and is willing to comply with the city’s rules of having insurance on the animal along with a proper enclosure.
The dog in question has been issued “a stay of execution,” Hall said, until after the ordinance is changed.
Council held a first reading on a change to the ordinance Tuesday night and will take a final vote Feb. 12.
Council also decided Tuesday to table a rezoning in the 800 block of North Greenwood Street from mixed use to commercial. Developers of the property want the commercial zoning for construction of a convenience store, but has yet to submit a site plan.
City Manager Tom Hall said the city needs the site plan to ensure there’s no entrance or exit to the store off adjacent Turner Street, which city planners believe can’t handle more traffic. Council also has received concerns from neighbors about added traffic, including a petition with 40 signatures of nearby residents.
Council did vote to rezone a property at 18 Barry Avenue and Hogansville Road from residential to commercial for use as a lawyer’s office.
Council split 4-2, with Councilmen Bobby Traylor and Willie Edmondson voting against a package liquor license for sales of alcohol at Southside Package Store at 801C Whitesville St. Council members Norma Tucker, Jim Thornton, LeGree McCamey and Nick Woodson voted for it.
Council had previously heard from ministers in the area who were against the license being issued and council members themselves expressed concerns the store is located directly across from one of the housing authority complexes.
“I can’t vote for this,” Edmondson said. “My constituents are against this.”
Council did approve a package sales license for a business next door to sell beer only. The store had previously sold beer and is under new ownership.
Council also took the final vote on increasing the city’s electric rates. It’s the third increase in three years to keep up with rising “fixed” costs of infrastructure at Municipal Electric Authority Georgia, from where the city buys its power.
The per kilowatt hour cost of electricity will go up from 10.6 cents to 11 cents for residential customers, 13 to 14 cents for general service customers and 8.4 to 8.5 cents for commercial customers.
Utilities Director Patrick Bowie told members of LaGrange City Council earlier this month that the per-kilowatt increase in utility rates should be offset somewhat by a decreased charge for natural gas, which is included in a separate kilowatt hour charge. The charge for natural gas is dropping from 2.4 to 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour and could drop as low as 2.1 cents, he said.
“That could eventually wipe out the entire (proposed) increase,” Bowie said.
With the increase, the average residential customer will pay about $3.41 per month more for electric, but that drops to just $2.50 a month because of lower fuel charges.
To help offset the electric rate increase council passed last year, it lowered water rates later in the year.
The average monthly bill for residents will rise from $108.47 to $111.88, according to figures provided by the city. Diverse Power customers pay an average of $129.87 and Georgia Power customers pay $121.68.
General service customers will see an increase to $151.87 from $149.82 a month with the proposed increase. Diverse general service customers pay $158.36 and $188.05 for service from Diverse and Georgia Power, respectively.
The rates will take effect Feb. 1.