Possums, porcupines, coyotes and raccoons are causing problems all over town. The Pratt City Commission discussed the problem and what to do about it last Monday.
It wasn't lions and tigers and bears that dominated open agenda discussion at Monday's Pratt City Commission meeting, but rather raccoons, porcupines, possums and coyotes. It seems city limits have been teaming with unwanted critters as of late, and citizen Jan Merz wanted to know what could be done about it.
"I am very concerned about this," Merz said. "My next-door neighbor is feeding the raccoons out there; throwing them vegetables and such. I am afraid to take my dog out for a walk because he might get attacked by a raccoon. They are up in the trees waiting for another meal."
Merz, who lives on West Fifth Street, wondered if an animal control officer could speak to the community about how to uninvite certain types of animals to their door.
"I just wish people would quit feeding them," she said.
City Police Chief Gary Myers said he could attest to the fact that there were 'extra' animals in town.
"We definitely have a wildlife problem around where I live too," he said. "We can have live traps set up and people should notify animal control when they see something. I am especially concerned about seeing raccoons in the daylight. They could have rabies and we need to know about those right away."
City Building Inspector Brad Blankenship said a porcupine had been photographed at the high school football field this past week. He had the picture on his phone.
Commission Don Peters said he had heard about a skunk at the back door of the hospital recently, and Commissioner Doug Meyer said he had possums eating bird feed in the backyard in his neighborhood. Chief Myers also said that coyotes had been reported in town across the street from the old Alco parking lot near First and Jackson Streets and armadillos had dug up lawns recently. He indicated that he would have a visit with an Animal Control officer to see what could be done to reduce unwanted critter problems in city limits.
There was no new business for the commission to discuss, something which had not happened in 39 years that City Manager Rick Eckert could remember. However, he shared with the commission that he had attended a state municipalities meeting in Hays last week where water conservation was a main topic of discussion. He expected recommendations to come out of that meeting that would aggressively required cities to reduce water consumption, something which had been proven possible in Hays.
City Attorney Regina Goff reported that ordinance 1709, the legal description for property purchased by the American Legion from the city, was ready to be memorialized, approved and signed by commissioners. They voted unanimously to approved the dead which allows the American Legion an easement to reach sewer connections, and officially signed the document.
Public Works Director Russ Rambat shared that a new specially designed sign would soon be placed at the Avenue of Flags along First Street.
"It's going to look real nice," he said. "You really need to drive by at night and see how the area is all lit up. Mark (Eckoff) has done a very nice job rejuvenating that area."
Blankenship reported there were several businesses around town expanding or growing in some way. Casey's is in the process of installing new showers and bathrooms for truckers, grading work was expected to begin for the new Pratt Family Dental building south of Walmart this week, and dirt work was complete for a new duplex going up North of Cooper Tire with a slab pour scheduled for Thursday.