Devine lowers speed limit, will euthanize Hondo’s strays

The Devine City Council voted at recent meetings to approve an interlocal agree with the City of Hondo for temporary Animal Control services and to lower the speed limit on Jack Nicklaus Dr.
Interlocal Agreement
At the Regular meeting on July 18, City Attorney Tom Cate informed Council that Hondo is currently without any employees certified to euthanize stray animals. In exchange for Devine euthanizing up to seven animals per week, Hondo offered the use of their drug dog and handler to Devine PD as needed. The agreement will only be in place until a Hondo employee becomes certified to perform euthanizations, or until Devine PD gets a drug dog and handler.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Councilman David Espinosa said. “We need each other and we need to work together.”
Councilman Cory Thompson said he had a hard time voting on the issue because he likes animals.
Interim City Administrator Dora Rodriguez pointed out that 40 animals were adopted from Animal Control in June (see Council reports story).
“That’s something that I can tell you that [police chief Kandy Benavides] is very passionate about,” Rodriguez said, “adopting instead of euthanizing. So that is something that they really try to do before anything like that is done.”
Rodriguez said that Animal Control also takes animals to shelters in other locations so as to euthanize as few as possible.
Thompson asked how people are informed of animals available for adoption, and Rodriguez replied that it’s through the veterinary clinic, and that pictures are also posted on the City’s website.
“I know a lot of people go to the facility and look to see when they’re interested,” Rodriguez said, adding that animals available for adoption are also featured in the City newsletter that goes out with utility bills.
A motion from Espinosa and seconded by Councilman Steve Lopez to enter into the interlocal agreement with Hondo passed 4-0. Council members David Valdez and Kathy Wilkins supported the measure, while Thompson abstained.
Jack Nicklaus speed limit
Philip Fitch lobbied to have the speed limit lowered on Jack Nicklaus Dr. from 30 miles per hour to 20 mph at the July 18 meeting.
“Jack Nicklaus has some winding curves causing some visual restrictions to the motorists, and I’m concerned with the safety of walkers and joggers in the neighborhood on a daily basis from morning to nighttime,” Fitch said, adding that he was also concerned for neighborhood children.
Thompson pointed out that many Jack Nicklaus residents have extra vehicles that they park on the street, which is additional hazard.
Fitch also requested that Council consider allowing for the installation of streetlights on Jack Nicklaus in the Fiscal Year 2017-2018 budget.
Council voted to authorize Cate to draw up an Ordinance lowering the speed limit, and approved the Ordinance 4-1, Lopez dissenting, at a Special meeting on July 24.
Other action
On July 18, Council also voted to retain the law firm of Lloyd Gosselink to review AEP’s request to increase rates and negotiate with the company, approved Joe Munoz’s request to build a hangar on City property at the Municipal Airport, and appointed Lee Davis and Hal Lance to the Library Board.
On July 24, Council voted to join NPPGov, a national cooperative procurement organization that offers publicly solicited contracts to governments. Membership is free.
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer