Wed, May 22

Jerome to piggyback workshop, meeting
Council to tackle personnel and animal policies

The next scheduled meeting of the Jerome Town Council likely will draw a crowd.

A draft agenda of the meeting scheduled for Aug. 14 covers both a workshop at 5 p.m. and a council meeting at 7 p.m.

The agenda is packed with items, including at least three hot topics -- annexation, the residency requirement and an ordinance on animal use. All three have a history of filling council chambers with interested citizens.

The agenda for the workshop is limited to one item, the town's personnel policies and procedures. Making changes to the town's personnel policy manual has been a project this council has been working on for a long time. During the workshop, which will be open to the pubic but will not allow public input, the council and the town's attorney will review and tweak the updated policy.

Later, during the scheduled meeting, the personnel policy will come up again. But it will be limited to discussion and possible action on an ordinance to amend the town's residency requirement.

According to Ordinance 269, passed in July of 1994, all town employees must live within one hour driving time of their place of work. Department heads, including town clerk, police chief and public works administrator, must live in the town limits of Jerome.

The residency portion of that ordinance has been questioned during the last year while the town has been making a transition from a council and commissioner form of government to a council and town manager form. Some council members and residents feel the requirement might make it more difficult to hire a town manager because of the limited housing and the cost of that housing.

The requirement was not an issue with the new town manager, Brenda Man, who begins work late in August.

Proposed Ordinance 347 covers a topic that's emotional for many people, the standards governing the treatment of animals within town limits. The ordinance is in response to complaints about how horses, used for a carriage ride, are cared for and treated. This will be the first reading of the ordinance and public comment will be allowed.

Annexation is also on the agenda. Usually a button-pushing topic during council meetings, it is on this agenda only so the council can begin the process of selecting members for a subcommittee. The subcommittee is being formed to answer questions about annexation.

Also on the draft agenda are the adoption of the final budget for fiscal year 2007-08, impact fees and a proposed moratorium on sewer hook-ups on the Gulch sewer system.