Feral cats, RV park staffing among topics discussed during recent Manton commission meeting

Manton city commissioner Sue Fullerton made a motion to hire a new co-host for the RV park and campground without going through the formal interview process. In elaborating on this request, treasurer Marlene Lott said the park has been in dire need of another host for some time to help maintain the grounds.

MANTON — The Manton City Commission discussed a wide range of topics recently, including the police chief's plan for dealing with feral cats in the area, reports of breaking and enterings, and issues related to the RV park.

Police Chief Corey Lipar, who took over this month following the retirement of longtime chief Mike Long, started out his report to the commission by warning the public of several recent incidents of breaking and entering and a car being stolen.

"Lock your doors," Lipar said. "Pass that around to your friends and families."

Continuing his report, Lipar switched gears to discuss the city's feral cat population and his strategy for dealing with it.

Lipar said he's fielded a number of calls from residents about unwanted cats in their neighborhoods. From now on, Lipar said anyone who sees a feral cat should contact the police department and provide a description of where they saw it, along with what it looked like (coloration of fur, etc.)

He said someone from the city will respond to these reports and may set up a trap for the cats in the area. After being trapped, Lipar said they'll be taken to the animal shelter and spayed or neutered.

He also brought up the city's ordinance related to keeping pets, which states that a resident may have up to three pets (dogs and cats). Anyone who is feeding feral cats from their porch, for instance, may be ticketed for violating the ordinance. Lipar said there will be a leeway period before he starts issuing tickets, as not everyone may be aware of the ordinance.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, someone mentioned that they've noticed people traveling at excessive rates of speed on the north side of town.

Lipar replied this is something he's noticed, as well, and will be making an effort to focus on enforcing speed limits in this area. He said he'd also make a few calls to find out what it would take to further reduce speed limits north of town so drivers aren't entering the city at close to highway speeds.

Also during the meeting, Manton Department of Public Works Supervisor Jake Paddock told the commission that a resident was being overcharged for their water as a result of the city installing the wrong-sized meter at their home.

Treasurer Marlene Lott said the meter was installed in 2016 and since that time has overcharged the resident by 77%, or $3,611.

The commission agreed to allow the DPW to cut a check to the homeowner for the amount of the overcharge.

Lipar also notified the commission that he pulled out and cleaned a pump near the school that had been plugged for quite a while by stretchy material that resembled a waistband.

Also during the meeting, Manton Fire Department Chief Eric Wilkins asked that the captain who fills out incident reports for the department be paid a salary rate for providing this service.

Wilkins said the department averages 100-120 reports a year and it would be easier both on their end and for the city clerk if the captain was paid an annual salary of $1,200 rather than $12.50 per report, which is how he is paid now.

The commission approved this request.

Also during the meeting, it was reported that the Lake Billings RV Park and Campground was booked up through the summer on the weekends. It also was reported that during a recent check of the park's pop machine, $302 in coins was recovered in the overflow bin. In addition, it was reported that the lock code on the park's bathroom may need to be updated, as there have been recent incidents of non-campers using the facilities.

In an unrelated discussion about the park, commissioner Sue Fullerton made a motion to hire a new co-host without going through the formal interview process.

In elaborating on this request, treasurer Marlene Lott said the park has been in dire need of another host for some time to help maintain the grounds.

"From a customer service standpoint ... you do not have enough bodies to maintain a 100-site campground. There are things that need to be done," said Lott, who added that they've heard reports of bathrooms not being kept up, campers mowing the grass around their own sites, and other issues.

Commissioner Rick Rayment commented that the city has "failed two years in a row" to run the park up to the standards expected by customers.

"We need to take care of this now," Rayment said.

The commission voted unanimously to hire another co-host for the campground, which brings the total number of hosts to four (two co-hosts and two hosts).

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