Grove City Council members tabled an animal city ordinance to allow time for city officials to scratch out a plan allowing for the existence of Grove Public School's FFA barn and to address unusual domestic animals.

“We don’t want to discourage the kids,” said Debbie Bottoroff, assistant city manager.

The school’s FFA barn, which houses the livestock projects for students, is located inside the city limits near Grove High School.

“I wonder if it is beneficial to ban everything completely,” said Joe Nowlin, who owns cattle and two horses within the city limits on one of only three agricultural zoned properties. 

Commercial chicken and egg operations should be prohibited, Nowlin added. 

“Chickens are prohibited,” said City Manager Bill Keefer.

Some discussion took place concerning Tulsa and Oklahoma City animal ordinances which deal with “urban chickens” and a child having a pet rabbit verses a person raising rabbits for profit.

Chickens and the school’s FFA barn are the main points the ordinance needs to address, Keefer said.

Councilman Marty Dyer expressed an interest to hear about other communities urban chicken policies.

Another agenda item was also tabled – the continuation of the four-tenths of a cent sales tax.

“The tax was put in place in 2001 to help with the debt associated with the water and wastewater plant improvements,” Keefer said.

The tax, which brings in about $752,000 yearly, is set to retire June 30, 2021. 

Keefer expressed a desire to keep the tax, otherwise the city might have to raise utility rates in the future.

“There is the possibility of a $3 million utility relocation project down the road,” Keefer said. “You are going to need funds. The needs are never going to go away.”

Keefer said they are trying to address it now so they can forecast whether the funds will continue to be there down the road. 

Other business  

In other business, the council approved a resolution seeking reimbursement from the state for the 2018 Big Bass Bash set for June 9 and 10 at Wolf Creek Park.

The Oklahoma Quality Incentive Act reimburses communities for some of their expenses in attracting national and international events.

The council approved amending a city ordinance in connection to municipal court costs.

The state raised some fines and costs and the new ordinance brings the city into compliance with state law. The new ordinance refers to the fees without setting a specific amount.

In other business, Art Koop was approved to fill the unexpired term on the Planning and Zoning Commission Board. His term expires Oct. 31, 2018.

The council approved an agreement with the Zena Volunteer Fire Department for the Grove Police Department to provide dispatch services.

Keefer said a similar agreement with the Seneca Cayuga Fire Department is approved pending receiving documentation from the fire department.

The fire departments agreed to pay $400 a month for the services, he said.

The council tabled appointing a person to the Zoning Board of Adjustments board after no one submitted an application.