Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

ALEDO — After only three days without an animal control contract, aldermen unanimously approved an agreement with Mercer County Animal Control Tuesday night, Jan. 3.

The board failed to renew the contract at the previous meeting.

The council’s change of mind came after their concerns were addressed by Aledo Police Chief Chris Sullivan. In a City Council Memorandum explaining the city’s policies, Sullivan wrote, “We have an excellent working relationship with the Mercer County Animal Shelter and its employees. They have fully and completely met everything required in the animal control agreement. There have been no problems experienced by the Police Department with the level of service provided by shelter employees.”

Sullivan reminded the council of the city’s feral cats policy. In the memorandum he explained, “It is impractical for the county employees to deploy the live-catch traps for several reasons.”

The shelter agreed to take any unrestrained or feral cats captured by property owners if the animals were brought to the shelter. Live traps are available — free of charge — at the Aledo Police Department to Aledo residents.

The contract total is $1,201.20 per month for 2017, previously it was on a month-to-month basis.

Alderman Michael Chausse said, “This policy has been in effect since October of 2015 and it has worked so well (nearly 50 cats sent to animal control that have been trapped by residents). ... If Chief had been at the Dec. 19th meeting the issue would have been taken care of that night. The council likes to have all pertinent information before making decisions.”

“I think their questions were addressed last night, everybody seems to be on board with the way we’re going to handle animal control and dogs and feral cats. ... Moving forward I think we have a good policy,” Mayor Chris Hagloch said, adding the council appreciated the policies Sullivan had put in place last summer to address their concerns.

No animal control issues were reported during the three days without a contract, Jan. 1-3.

In other action, aldermen approved a grant for Wagner Pharmacy building repairs and improvements with tax increment financing funds at a cost to the city of $5,590. Owner Gary Wagner preferred the higher bid from Northwest Restoration Co. for a total of $11,180, $2,280 more than a bid from Kenny Tharp Masonry Restoration Inc. because they will be doing additional work.

The building is in the Downtown Aledo Historic District at 109-112 N. College Ave. Repairs include a damaged area of masonry above the door at the Edward Jones Office, a cracked panel near the bottom of the dermatology office, loose bricks on the north wall in the alleyway, damaged Vitrolite below north storefront windows and re-seal window lintels loose on the northern two storefronts.

Wagner plans to finish work on the interior of the building through the winter himself, including painting, and minor repairs to have it ready for new tenants or a new buyer this spring.

Monument Park will soon get an overhaul. The council approved $11,500 in TIF funding for Hutchison Engineering to begin the process for restoring the site referred to as Soldiers Memorial Park. The park is located on the block at Northwest 3rd Avenue and 3rd Street. A total of $55,000 has been set aside out of the 2017 TIF fund to complete the project.

In an effort to simplify the process for finding city code fines a measure was passed that creates a schedule of the fines. Previously the code was difficult to navigate as the hearing officer and city staff had to go through each page of codes to determine fine amounts during hearings.

The council also approved amending and updating six city ordinances.