|By Diana Alba Soular, Las Cruces Sun-News, N.M.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
City and county elected officials are holding a joint work session to hash out proposed changes to their animal control ordinances, a process that's been underway for several years.
A key provision is whether to enact the trap-neuter-and-release measure that would allow feral cats to be captured, spayed or neutered, vaccinated and then released back into the outdoors.
Proponents contend such a measure would reduce a seemingly non-stop stream of wild cats that are being captured by animal control officers and taken to the city-county animal shelter, where they're euthanized. They also argue the status quo is doing nothing to reduce the overall numbers of feral cats roaming the city and county.
Opponents, however, have said the provision would have a negative effect upon area wildlife, since free-roaming cats kill birds and other small animals. Plus, they say they're worried it could promote the spread of disease, such as rabies. Resident
"If you legalize stray cat colonies, you will be creating a rabies problem that we don't currently have," she said.
A volunteer-run trap-neuter-release program currently operates on the campus of
"I have a huge file of emails I'm going to have to look at," she said.
City and county officials talked about the proposal in a joint meeting in August, but decided it would need further discussion, the reason for the upcoming meeting. It's a work session, meaning no votes will be taken.
The TNR proposal is one of a number of changes proposed as part of an overhaul of the county and city animal control ordinances.
The idea in revising the measures is to reduce the number of differences between the city and the county, said
"It makes it easier for people to identify what's expected of them," he said.
The proposals grew out of an initial set of recommendations put together by an ad hoc panel, Garrett said. Recently, the legal staff from the city and county have examined an ordinance draft and made some changes that will be discussed at the opening of the meeting.
Also, an overview will be given about what the proposed ordinances contain, Garrett said.
"The objective of the meeting is to make sure the commissioners and councilors have good information about what they'd like to see in the draft to be considered for action," he said.
Eventually, the city council and the county commission will take separate votes to approve or reject the proposed ordinance changes.
Garrett said the meeting would be a good one to attend for residents who are interested in animal issues.
The meeting starts
City work session
Later Tuesday, the city council will host a work session to talk about a proposed revision to the city's comprehensive plan that was created in 1999.
The city planning and zoning commission voted 6-0 to recommend the changes to the city council, which could vote on them in November or December, according to agenda documents.
The revisions, called Administrative Update 2040, Comprehensive Plan 2040. It's a proposed "policy document that provides a vision of what the city should be, a guide for municipal decision-makers for capital improvements, and a tool for managing community changes that may affect the physical development of
The plan covers topics such as "land use, community facilities like museums (and) parks and police (and) fire facilities, urban design, utilities, economic development, housing, transportation, and environmental topics like water conservation and sustainability," according to the document.
Also, the city council will hear an update about possible changes to the source of its medical insurance benefits for employees.
The meeting starts at
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