Riverbank council to reconsider cat experiment

Bee Staff ReportsFebruary 22, 2014 

— The city’s two-year experiment with wild cats at Jacob Myers Park may be nearing an end, and in unrelated news, garbage bills could get higher.

City Council members in November 2010 drew applause from a room packed with cat advocates when they sanctioned the feeding of a colony of about 10 sterilized feral cats. But that action “has had some unintended consequences,” says a report going before the council Monday.

For one, the riverfront park has become “a popular place for people to abandon their animals, including litters of (unsterilized) kittens, because they think the animals will be taken care of,” the report says. More cats means more feces, including a strain that is harmful to people, the document says. Also, people not authorized to feed the feral cats are leaving food packages and other litter.

City Hall is worried about liability, so staff recommends that the council reverse the earlier decision.

The report does not suggest what might be done about cats living in the park.

Also Monday, the council will consider raising garbage rates by more than 21 percent. If a staff recommendation is approved, standard service for a 90-gallon trash container would rise from $17.50 per month to $21.20. The additional money would cover Gilton Solid Waste Management’s costs for extra services, including picking up electronic waste, Christmas trees, illegal dumping and large items such as sofas.

An option would boost monthly bills by 18 percent, to $20.70, but customers would get no extra services at that price.

Additionally, the council will consider changing the city’s growth rules by amending its policy for annexing large areas.

Mayor Richard O’Brien said in his recent State of the City address that Riverbank intends to grow and mentioned renewed interest by home builders and businesses.

The Riverbank City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Monday at the chamber at 6707 Third St. Although the council recently approved moving meetings to Tuesdays, that change won’t take effect until April. For more information, go to www.riverbank.org/citycouncil.

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