NEW ULM - The New Ulm City Council held the first reading Tuesday of the new ordinance that will allow Chammy the horse to stay in New Ulm.
The ordinance, which was revised to meet requests by City Councilors at its last meeting, allows animals that have remained in New Ulm with the same owner for six months prior to Jan.1, 2012, to stay until their death. This provision essentially only pertains to Chammy, the horse owned by New Ulm residents Charles and Roberta Hintz. The horse was previously subject to eviction due to City Code violations, including excessive manure. A groundswell of local support prompted the council to allow the horse to stay while a new ordinance was being drafted.
However, Chammy and any other unknown animal that would qualify are only allowed to stay if the owners are granted the necessary permit by the Council. The City will establish the details of the permit in the coming weeks, and it will come with related fees to cover the cost of enforcing the permit. The permit will not be granted to any dangerous breeds, and it will be conditional on the owners providing a clean and healthy environment for the animal.
The New Ulm logo presented at Tuesday's City Council meeting.
Councilor Ruth Ann Webster and Councilor Ken RockVam previously stated that they were getting calls that questioned the quality of current living conditions for Chammy.
At Tuesday's meeting, Webster asked that city officials examine the habitat area for Chammy if the Hintzes apply for a permit. She also said she has serious concerns that the manure problem remains. During a recent visit to Chammy, she observed a large manure pile despite promises by Charles Hintz to remove the animal waste on a timely basis.
Following the death of all the animals eligible for this portion of the ordinance, no other non-pet animals will be allowed to live in the city limits.
The ordinance also tackles several other topics, including an expansion of the list of animals New Ulm residents can keep as pets. Residents are now allowed to keep guinea pigs, rabbits, fish, ferrets, non-venomous reptiles, frogs, toads, salamanders and turtles. Additionally, the ordinance gives unlimited time for keeping animals at the Brown County Fairgrounds for animal shows and gives 24 hours for keeping animals in town for demonstrations, such as visits by the Minnesota Zoo's Zoomobile.
The Council heard a presentation by Barbara Marti of the New Ulm Retail Development Corporation on a new city-wide logo. The corporation hopes to have the logo on as many New Ulm items, clothing and paperwork as possible. The consistency of the new logo will create a positive association with all of New Ulm, which will encourage people to visit.
Marti said the new logo is also intended to bring a fresh look to New Ulm.
New Ulm Retail Development Corporation will be in charge of use of the logo.
The Council repealed Section 2.22 of the City Code to resolve its conflict with Section 213 of the City Charter.
The Code states that commissioners on the Public Utilities Commission must be compensated the same as City Councilors. The Charter states that PUC compensation will be dictated by the City Council.
In the recent vote to raise the annual salary of councilors and the mayor, the PUC was explicitly set aside to not receive an increase.
The repeal of this Code's 2.22 section will eliminate the conflict.
The Council received a report that the $3.3 million General Obligation bond earned an Aa2 rating from Moody's Investors Service. The Council also awarded the bond to UMB Bank N.A., of Kansas City, Mo. The interest rate was 1.2 percent, which may be the lowest interest rate the City has ever received. The City had anticipated 1.9 percent.
(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)