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MOORE, OKLA (Free Press) — The Moore City Council met without Mayor Glenn Lewis present in regular session and addressed two key issues among others Monday.

They invested a portion of money received in the American Rescue Plan Act into community services and policing.

Another proposed ordinance would allow Moore residents to have backyard chickens, as previously suggested by Moore residents attending the council meetings.

American Rescue Plan Act 

The Moore City Council authorized the use of incoming “American Rescue Plan Act,” or ARPA funds to pay for 36 Ford Police vehicles, totaling $2,185,800 upon receipt.  

Another $709,200 was utilized to pay for a custom fire truck, $2,895,000 of the funding designated in total. 

But, it is not clear if this use of ARPA funds is allowed.

According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the City of Moore was allocated $8,469,969 through the American Rescue Plan Act. Moore would have received half of this in a previous first round, with the rest in this second round. 

This money is included in the “Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF)” portion of the ARPA, which regulates how the money can be spent.

The Treasury outlines that these funds can be used to:

  • Replace lost public sector revenue, using this funding to provide government services up to the amount of revenue lost due to the pandemic
  • Respond to the far-reaching public health and negative economic impacts of the pandemic, by supporting the health of communities, and helping households, small businesses, impacted industries, nonprofits, and the public sector recover from economic impacts
  • Provide premium pay for essential workers, offering additional support to those who have and will bear the greatest health risks because of their service in critical sectors
  • Invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure, making necessary investments to improve access to clean drinking water, to support vital wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, and to expand affordable access to broadband internet

The Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds provide substantial flexibility for each jurisdiction to meet local needs within these four separate eligible use categories.

The goals of the SLFRF program are to:

  • Fight the pandemic and support families and businesses struggling with its public health and economic impacts
  • Maintain vital public services, even amid declines in revenue resulting from the crisis
  • Build a strong, resilient, and equitable recovery by making investments that support long-term growth and opportunity

City manager Brooks Mitchel said that these are “the typical vehicles we would buy anyway,” and the Council passed the item unanimously, without discussion. 

The City will have until December 31, 2024, to obligate the remaining funds. Unexpended funds will be subject to recapture or return that same date in 2026.

Backyard Chickens

The Council heard from Chad Denson, the assistant Community Development Director, and he explained that the department was asked to research OKC’s ordinance regarding backyard chickens and create an ordinance for Moore.

He said that they initially thought that the placement of the coops would be the largest hurdle, but it’s actually about the chickens themselves. 

Roosters may be hard to spot at the feed store, so when they mature and break sound ordinances, the City must have a way to remove them. 

According to Denson, “There are not a lot of rescue programs, of any… We can’t give a rooster back to another citizen within the City of Moore… A lot of farms don’t want the roosters because they fear viruses it could carry.”

Chicken Flock by virtusincertus on Flicker

This would become the most pressing issue for the ordinance to surmount, and the Department’s research shows that other cities have no idea how to deal with roosters either.

“I don’t think they’ve gotten it figured out,” Denson said of other cities and the recurring rooster problem. 

When Ward 1 Council Member Danielle McKenzie asked what other cities do with roosters, John Fryrear, Moore’s Animal Shelter Director, weighed in and reiterated, saying that the Avian Flu and other city ordinances prevent roosters from being dealt with effectively. 

“They are just citing the owner, and you still have the problem of where the bird is going to go.”

Editor’s note: For centuries, farmers would typically slaughter and eat the young roosters as they were identified in a new crop. However, urban/suburban sensibilities seems to rule this option out.

The Council members had a tough time figuring out what to do with the draft ordinance. Council Member Mark Hamm of Ward 2 moved to vote on the ordinance, but the motion died for lack of a second.

Instead, the Council tabled the item until July 1st, looking for more research to make sure the proposed ordinance would fit Moore. 

Council Member McKenzie described herself as “Not comfortable” passing the ordinance for several reasons. Current City staffing issues, limited animal shelter facilities, and no non-profit or outside help to deal with the roosters turned the Council away from the ordinance May 2nd, but the item will come up at a later date with more research and planning. 

The next Moore City Council Meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 16th at 6:30 PM.

Last Updated May 6, 2022, 7:38 AM by Brett Dickerson – Editor