Close Window
Print Window
Return to Main News Page

In the News

COUNCIL MEETING 07/31/17 (LifeFlight Update, Feline Sanctuary, Canine Drug Dog, EM Director, City Board, Training Cost Ordinance, City Admin Hire)

Chillicothe City Council members expressed support for the concept of developing a feline sanctuary near the Forrest O. Triplett Animal Shelter south of Chillicothe but said they must first see specific plans before giving full approval to the endeavor. Doug Long, a board member of the Livingston County Humane Society, explained the plans during Monday night's City Council meeting at City Hall. On behalf of the local Humane Society, Long sought the council's approval to locate the sanctuary on city property and to take ownership of the building once constructed. It was noted, however, that the council must first approve building plans for the facility before it is constructed and before taking ownership. The facility would be built through donations, Long said, and then donated to the city. He said that there is a $50,000 matching grant proposal from an animal welfare foundation on the table and that the local organization planned to begin efforts to raise the required matching funds. The local Humane Society raised $12,000 last year during a celebration commemorating Lesley Patek's 25th year as shelter guardian of the Chillicothe animal shelter. City Attorney Robert Cowherd stated that since the city would ultimately own the facility, the facility would need to meet certain criteria, including having the council approve the building plans, having the project meet certain bonding requirements, and paying prevailing wage for construction. Long stated that the matching funds would need to be raised this year and that the facility would be built next year. The feline sanctuary is proposed to be 40 feet by 8 feet and be located southwest of the existing shelter building. State mandates limit the facility's occupancy to no more than 12 cats. There are several use options for the proposed sanctuary. It could be used as a quarantine area to keep sick cats away from the general population or to house pregnant cats. Additionally, the sanctuary could provide a quiet area for individuals seeking to adopt a cat to be able to sit down and socialize with the cats before selecting one to take home.

Also Monday, the council heard a request from Police Chief Rick Knouse and Officer Jeremiah Grider regarding a canine drug dog. The cost of the trained dog and the handler's training, if approved, would be paid for through GI Bill benefits. Additional cost estimates involved with implementing a canine officer - such as work hours and equipment necessary for the dog - are to be presented to the council at a later date.

Completion of the LifeFlight Eagle hangar at Chillicothe Municipal Airport is expected to be near the end August, a slight delay from the original August 16 estimate. The most significant reason for the setback is a delay involving the windows and storefront entry door, according to Chillicothe Fire Chief Darrell Wright. The chief presented a construction update during the workshop meeting of the Chillicothe City Council Monday evening at City Hall. He stated that sewer construction was expected to begin this week and be in full operation by August 16. He said the building will be significantly finished this week as crews are finishing the electrical work as well as the heating and air conditioning. The interior painting is mostly completed, and the remaining concrete will be poured this week. The flooring is expected to be finished next week and LifeFlight will be cleared to install appliances, radios and phones after August 11. An open house is being planned for Saturday, September 16.

In other business Monday, the council approved a contract with Adam Perry as the emergency management co-assistant director, along with an intergovernmental agreement for cost reimbursement with the county commissioners and the hospital.

Also Monday evening, council members approved Mayor Chuck Haney's appointment of Don Ratliff to the city's Planning and Zoning Committee, were introduced to full-time police officer Eric Menconi, passed an ordinance regarding training cost agreements, and passed an ordinance regarding insurance payments for loss to a building or structure.

Chappell New Administrator
By Jaime Saucedo 
C-T 08 03 17

After working without a City Administrator since the April departure of Ike Holland, the City of Chillicothe's search for a replacement finally has ended. On Monday, July 31, the City Council, after final discussion in executive session, emerged from that session to vote unanimously in open session to hire Darin Chappell to be the next administrator for the city. Holland vacated the position after six years in Chillicothe for a city administrator role in Willmar, Minnesota, when he departed for that job at the end of April. The official selection of Chappell was the end result of a long process that led to the August 3 signing of Chappell. First, a search committee was established to hunt for a new administrator. Then it was required that every ward select a nominee to the committee. Upon further review of each candidate, the search committee voted unanimously for Chappell to be its recommendation to the council. After receiving the recommendation, it was the Council's final responsibility to make the official hiring. The four finalists presented to the council were interviewed and received tours of the city. After the council's turn in the process, it voted - also unanimously - to offer Chappell the position. Mayor Chuck Haney was enthusiastic about the signing. According to a story in the Bolivar Herald-Free Press, Chappell will leave Bolivar, Missouri, after also spending six years as their city administrator, leaving after just recently voted to a contract extension that would make him the Bolivar City Administrator through the end of 2018. Official announcement of the hiring broke later in the day Wednesday. Constitution-Tribune attempts to reach Chappell for comment were unsuccessful prior to our printing deadline.

Photo Courtesy of the Bolivar Herald-Free Press

**********************************************************************

The Chillicothe City Council will have a workshop meeting at 5:30 p.m. tonight at City Hall, followed by the regular council meeting. Council members will be updated on the LifeFlight hangar project during the workshop meeting in the conference room at City Hall and also discuss city finances. The regular meeting is slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers.

Agenda items include a request from the Livingston County Humane Society to build a feline sanctuary at the animal shelter. The sanctuary project was proposed more than a year ago to be located at the Forrest O. Triplett Animal shelter to help alleviate overpopulation at the shelter. Because space is an ongoing issue at the shelter, feline euthanizations have remained high. Statistics from 2014 showed that of the 393 homeless cats that entered the shelter in 2014, 252 were euthanized. The number was similar in 2015. There are several use options for the proposed sanctuary, said Lesley Patek, shelter guardian. The facility could be used as a quarantine area to keep sick cats away from the general population, or to house pregnant cats. Additionally, the sanctuary could provide a quiet area - away from dogs and the noisy shelter environment - for individuals seeking to adopt a cat to be able to sit down and socialize with the cats before selecting one to take home. The sanctuary could house 12 cats and would be funded through donations and not city funds. Keeping the sick cats away from the general population will reduce the spread of illnesses that can lead to euthanasia.

The council on Monday will also hear a request from Police Chief Rick Knouse for a canine drug dog. The chief will also introduce Eric Menconi as a new full-time police officer. Mayor Chuck Haney plans to recommend someone to serve on the Planning and Zoning Board. Fire Chief Darrell Wright will discuss and present an ordinance for consideration to contract with Adam Perry as the Emergency Management co-assistant director, along with an intra-governmental agreement for cost reimbursement with the county commissioners and the hospital. The fire chief will also discuss and present an ordinance regarding training cost agreements. City Attorney Robert Cowherd is on the agenda to discuss and present an ordinance regarding insurance payments for loss to a building or structure.

An executive session, closed to the public, is expected to follow the regular meeting. It is anticipated that the council will consider a final contract for the recommended candidate for Chillicothe city administrator.

Return to Top

Close Window
Return to Home Page