SEPTEMBER 29, 2015

The meeting of the Council of Columbus, Georgia was called to order at 9:02 A.M., Tuesday, September 29, 2015, on the 2nd Floor of the Citizens Service Center, located at 3111 Citizens Way, Columbus, Georgia. Honorable Teresa Pike Tomlinson, Mayor, presiding.

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PRESENT: Present other than Mayor Tomlinson and Mayor Pro Tem Evelyn Turner Pugh were Councilors Jerry Barnes, Tom Buck, Berry Henderson, Judy W. Thomas and Evelyn Woodson. Deputy City Manager Lisa Goodwin, City Attorney Clifton Fay and Deputy Clerk of Council Lindsey Glisson were also present.
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ABSENT: Councilors R. Gary Allen, Mike Baker, Glenn Davis and Bruce Huff were absent. Also absent were City Manager Isaiah Hugley and Clerk of Council Tiny B. Washington.
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As Mayor Tomlinson introduced Reverend Joseph Baker to give the invocation, she announced that she had just received word that Mr. Harold “Lefty” Encarnacion is currently in the hospital and that it is a dire circumstance.
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INVOCATION: Reverend Joseph Baker of St. James AME Church.
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Mayor Tomlinson acknowledged the presence of Mrs. Jo McDaniel, wife of the late Councilor Charles “Red” McDaniel.
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PLEDGE: Led by the students of Wynnton Arts Academy.
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Due to lack of a quorum, Mayor Tomlinson stated that the items listed on the Consent Agenda would be moved to the end of the meeting.
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Public Works Director Pat Biegler took to the podium to give a presentation to the Mayor and Council entitled Managed TNR Cat Population. The information was presented as follows:
Categories of Cats
Managed Cat Colonies
3 Ways to Deal with Feral Cats
Today’s Presentation
Managed Colony Cats
Managed TNR Program
Of the 3,356 cats we have brought in so far this calendar year-
Managed TNR Programs are the single best practice to:
Modified TNR Program
Possible Outcomes of Our Program
Process for Cats Brought In/Trapped
Components of the Program
Modified TNR Program
(Tenvac-Trap, Evaluate, Neuter, Vaccinate and Contain)
Cost of Proposed Alternative Containment/Sanctuary for 5,000 Cats
*Disease Concerns- See Huffington Post Article re: Hoarding

Result of combined best practices that balance population control with compassion.
Our Vision

(We have an active Save A Pet Committee to assist with ideas to reach these goals)
FY16 Animal Control Budget

Dr. Keri Riddick
Benning Road Animal Hospital
Population, Disease Control
Dr. Hank Hall
Northside Animal Hospital
Population, Disease Control
Experience with TNR

Scott Trebatoski
Hillsborough County, Tampa, Florida
First Coast No More Homeless Pets Program
Long Term Program Successes

Rebecca Guinn, Attorney
CEO Atlanta Lifeline Project Program (Fulton & DeKalb Counties)
Program Successes

Peter Wolf
Best Friends Animal Society

Dr. Deborah Ackerman, M.S. PhD.
Adjunct Associate Professor of Epidemiologist
UCLA School of Public Health
Managed Cat Colonies are not the whole answer but are certainly the best solution we have at this time which balances compassion and the need to protect the public.
At this point in the presentation, Director Biegler then turned the floor over to Drale Short, Public Works, Special Enforcement. Ms. Short proceeded to introduce the first guest, being Dr. Keri Riddick, the newest member to the Animal Control Advisory Board.

Dr. Keri Riddick, of Benning Road Animal Hospital, 2047 Fort Benning Road, Columbus, Georgia 31903, came forward to address the Mayor and Council. Dr. Riddick acknowledged the complexity of this issue, but expressed that the common goal is to save as many animals as possible. She explained when a cat is captured; this is the perfect opportunity for the animal to be tested for diseases and parasites.
Dr. Hank Hall, of Northside Animal Hospital, 5360 Veterans Parkway, Columbus, Georgia 31904, came forward to address the Mayor and Council. Dr. Hall stated the purpose is to reduce the population of stray cats, which in turn will reduce the problem with rabies. He went on to describe the efforts of local veterinarians to help with the spaying and neutering of stray cats in the community.
Mr. Scott Trebatoski, Director of the Pet Resource Center for the Hillborough County Government, 440 N. Falkenburg Road, Tampa, Florida 33619, came forward to address the Mayor and Council.

Mr. Trebatoski took to the podium to give a presentation to the Mayor and Council entitled What Do We Do About the Cats. The information was presented as follows:
Framing the Discussion
Unrealistic Alternatives Debunked
AWAKE! Hillsborough Animal Health Foundation
Hard Costs Seen in Jacksonville, FL (Community Costs Combined)
FY06-07FY07-08FY08-09FY09-10FY10-11FY11-12 (Kitten Nursery Program Begun)FY12-13
Community Cat Diversion Program/Feral Cat Program Costs$356156$333,639$430,960$360,329$348,039$321,898$316,995
Other Cat Program Costs$862,841$856,010$659,704$580,852$469,474$549,049$509,305
Total Cat Program Costs$1,218,997$1,189,649$1,090,664$941,181$817,513$870,947$826,300
Return to Field Based Programs Success
Scenario Assumptions:
Scenario 1: Do Nothing
Year 1: Four Become Twelve
Year 2: Do Nothing
Food resources remain the same so there is more competition for the food limiting births (remember that cats needs at least bowl of food to survive in scenarios but that level of food will not support births of new offspring)
Year 2: Twelve Become Fifteen
Scenario 2: Aggressive Trap & Eliminate
Food resources remain because person doesn’t know that cat is removed-or-the person still has the “need” or “desire” to feed outdoor cats
Year 1: Two Become Ten
Year 2: Aggressive Trap & Eliminate
Food resources remain the same so there is more competition for the food limiting births, but elimination of two reduces the competition leading to more births.
Year 2: Ten Becomes Sixteen
Year 2: Super Aggressive & Eliminate
Food resources remain the same so there is more competition for the food limiting births, but elimination of four reduces the competition.
Year 2: Ten Becomes Fourteen
Scenario 3: Sterilize, Vaccinate & Return = “SVR”
Cat returned to its original location continues to consume same resources even when sterilized.
Year 1: Four Become Ten
Year 2: Sterilize, Vaccinate & Return
Food resources remain the same so there is more competition for the food limiting births; sterilized and returned cats continue to consume same food they did before sterilization.
Year 2: Ten Remain Ten
Scenario 4: Aggressive “SRV”
Food resources remain the same and sterilized cats continue to consume the 2 bowls of food that they have in their original location (same as they did before being sterilized).
Year 1: Four Become Eight
Year 2: Aggressive “SRV”
Sterilized and returned cats continue to consume same food they did before sterilization; there are no resources for other cats to survive.
Year 2: Eight Becomes Four
What about Public Health?
Basic Biology of Cats:
Ms. Rebecca Quinn, CEO Atlanta Lifeline Project Program, 129 Lake Street, Avondale Estates, Georgia 30002, came forward to address the Mayor and Council.

Ms. Quinn stated that there are about 15,000 animals sheltered in the Atlanta area on an annual basis. She explained that Catlanta, a TNR program, was launched ten years ago, and is the largest organized program in the state. She went on to describe the TNR program that was enacted in DeKalb County.
Mr. Peter J. Wolf, of Best Friends Animal Society, 5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanab, Utah 84741, came forward to address the Mayor and Council.

Mr. Wolf took to the podium to give a presentation to the Mayor and Council entitled Trap-Neuter-Return: A Public Policy Issue. The information was presented as follows:
Public Opinion
Options and Feasibility


Some success stories
Mythbusting the “threats”
Dr. Deborah Ackerman, Adjunct Associate Professor of Epidemiologist UCLA School of Public Health, was put on conference call to address the Mayor and Council.

Dr. Ackerman stated that she had submitted a letter, which included research information, to the Mayor and Council; in addition to that information, Dr. Ackerman spoke on the relation of toxoplasmosis and psychiatric disorders. (This letter is on file in the Clerk’s Office.)
At this point in the meeting, Councilor Barnes expressed his concerns for the increasing numbers in the stray cat population. He read a letter from Councilor Glenn Davis, who was absent from this meeting, on his concerns on the feral cat issue in our community.

Councilor Barnes then introduced Dr. Judith Milcarsky.
Dr. Judith Milcarsky, DVM, of The House-Call Vet, P.O. Box 9248, Daytona Beach, Florida 32120, came forward to address the Mayor and Council.

Dr. Milcarsky stated that informational material was provided to the members of Council. (This information is on file in the Clerk’s Office.) She went on to explain in detail to the Mayor and Council the association between feral cat populations, rabies, cat-scratch disease, ringworm, hookworms, roundworms, and toxoplasmosis.
Dr. Christopher A. Lepczyk, of the School of Forest and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, 602 Duncan Drive, Auburn, Alabama 36849, came forward to address the Mayor and Council.

Dr. Lepczyk took to the podium to give a presentation to the Mayor and Council entitled Evaluation of TNR as a Management Option. The information was presented as follows:
United Sates Cat Population
Dilemmas Posed by Outdoor Cats
Management Options for Outdoor Cats
Ultimate goal of all methods is to reduce outdoor population to few or no individuals.
Dynamics of Animal Populations
Linking Management to Cat Populations
What Population Dynamics Can Tell Us about TNR
Does TNR Reduce Cat Populations?
Assessing Stakeholder Attitudes on Outdoor Cats
Stakeholder Attitudes on Cats
Cost Benefit of Cat Management

The Conservation Continuum
Tractable (Relatively Easy)
Intractable (Very Difficult)
Removing lead from fishing tackleClimate change
Removing plastic beads in personal hygienic productsSeal level rise
Global deforestation
Coral bleaching
Take Home Message
Dr. Joel McNeal, of Cartersville, Georgia, came forward to address the Mayor and Council.

Dr. McNeal took to the podium to give a presentation to the Mayor and Council entitled Trap-Neuter-Return perpetuates artificially high densities of feral cats. The information was presented as follows:
Where do you find feral cats in GA?
How are feral cat colonies established?
Births and immigration add individuals to a population
Deaths and emigration remove individuals from a population
Is TNR more humane than euthanasia?
Trap CatTrap Cat
Anesthetize catAnesthetize cat
Perform neutering surgeryHumanely euthanize cat
Confine cat until recovered from surgery◄What does this accomplish?
    Feral cat caretakers feel like they have saved a life and feel they are helping the cats
Release cat back into environment
Feed cat daily for its lifespan
Cat dies (humanely euthanized before it has to suffer too long, if it’s lucky)
Evaluation of the effect of a long-term TNR and adoption program on a free-roaming cat population
Julie K. Levy, DVM, PhD, DACVIM; David W. Gale; Leslie A. Gale, BS
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 2003: 222(1)

“Immigration or abandonment of new cats may be a frequent event, and free-roaming cats do not appear to have sufficient territorial activity to prevent new arrivals from permanently joining colonies. These new arrivals could substantially limit the success of TNR if an ongoing surveillance and maintenance program is not effective.”
Management of feral domestic cats in the urban environment of Rome (Italy)
Natoli et al. 2006. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 77:180-185

“The spay/neuter campaigns brought about a general decrease in cat number but the percentage of cat immigration (due to abandonment and spontaneous arrival) is around 21%. This suggests that all these efforts without an effective education of people to control the reproduction of house cats (as prevention for abandonment) are a waste of money, time and energy.”
Analysis of the impact of trap-neuter-return programs on populations of feral cats
Patrick Foley, PhD; Janet E. Foley, DVM, PhD; Julie K. Levy, DVM, PhD, DACVIM; Terry Paik, DVM
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 2005: 227(11)

Results of the programs had previously been summarized regarding the number of cats neutered, but the effect of neutering on the free-roaming cat population had not been analyzed. Our analysis indicated that any population-level effects were minimal, with Rm (the multiplier) ranging from 1.5 to 4, which indicated ongoing population growth (similar to values in previous studies), and critical needed values of neutered cats (i.e., the proportion of all cats that needed to be neutered to reduce Rm to <1.0) of 71% to 94%, which was far greater than what was actually achieved.
Take-home points
At the conclusion of Dr. McNeal’s presentation, Councilor Woodson made a few statements and asked a number of questions as it pertains to the speakers present in opposition of the TNR program.

Councilor Barnes asked for the specifics regarding the process of TNR, to include all of the vaccinations that the cats receive.

In response Director Biegler stated that if the cat is friendly, the City will trap it, vaccinate it and put the cat up for adoption. She further explained that if it is a feral cat that is extremely ill or injured the cat will then be euthanized without being vaccinated. If the feral cat appears to be healthy, it is then sent to a vet, where they are examined further, then vaccinated, spay/neuter, their ear clipped and then released back into the community.

Councilor Barnes then read an excerpt from a rabies prevention report that was issued by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), which stated that no matter what vaccine is given that a booster injection must be given within a year, an additional injection is given sometime after and must be done every three years thereafter.

From the audience, Dr. Hall agreed that this was a true statement. He further stated that three year vaccines can have an effective dose that lasts up to forty-two months.

Councilor Barnes expressed that he is concerned with how these cats are able to receive the booster injection that they need if they are released back into the community. With this, Mayor Tomlinson asked the veterinarians that were present to email the Councilors information on how these vaccinations can be effective without receiving the booster injection, include information on the last report of a human being getting rabies from a cat.
Ms. Christy Reeves, of 261 Archer Street, Canton, Georgia 30114, came forward to address the Mayor and Council. Ms. Reeves stated that she suffers from Toxoplasmosis, due to a cat using her sandbox as a child in 1978, as a litter box. She stated that she spent large amounts of time in Emory Hospital, and a paper was written about her since she was one of the youngest statistics to have developed Toxoplasmosis. As a result of her condition, she will forever be blind in her right eye.
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Since there was not a quorum present at this time in the meeting, Mayor Tomlinson stated that the two resolutions that were listed on the Consent Agenda excusing the absences of Councilors Mike Baker and Bruce Huff from the Council Consent Agenda/Work Session Meeting would be postponed until the next Regular Business Meeting.

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Mayor Tomlinson began her presentation to the Council entitled Thaw the Freeze and stated that Dr. Benjamin Blair, with Columbus State University, was present to answer any questions that the Council may have. The information was presented as follows:

Thaw the Freeze
A New Tax System for a New Era
Community Discussion
Citizens with the Freeze are Entitled to Keep It

Thirty Years of Data to Determine Effectiveness of Property Valuation Caps/Freezes
Does the Freeze Achieve Its Goals?
Sunset Proposal with Tax Break
Tax Break in New System
Effect of Tax Break on City
Effect of Tax Break on School District
No Relationship with LOST Penny
Constitutionality of Proposal
Polley’s Memo
Question for Voters: Do We Have the Best Tax System for this Era?
Process for Adoption
Ballot Question and Tax System
No Severability
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Deputy City Manager Lisa Goodwin explained the 2016 Proposed Legislative Agenda to the members of Council. Deputy City Manager Goodwin stated that Director Peter Bowden, of the Convention & Visitors Bureau was present to speak on his item as well.
Other Local Option Sales Tax (OLOST) –Hotel/Motel Exemption:
The Columbus Consolidated Government is requesting that the Local Legislative Delegation to the General Assembly introduce legislation to amend O.C.G.A. 48-8-96(h)(1) so that it only applies to LOST referenda held after January 1, 2011, thereby leaving the original two exemptions contained in the 2004 legislation in place in Columbus, Georgia. (Requested by Councilor Henderson)
Sales Tax Accountability and Transparency User Safeguard (Point of Sales Data):
The Columbus Consolidated Government is requesting the State take necessary steps to ensure the full collection and timely remittance of all sales and use taxes due to the State and to local governments, whether such steps include additional funding for the Department of Revenue for audits and compliance purposes, privatizing sales tax collections or allowing local governments to collect and audit local sales taxes locally. (Carry over 2010/2011/2012/2013/2014/2015) (Requested by Mayor, City Manager, and Finance Director)
911 Surcharge – Increase:
Introduce/support legislation to increase 911 fees from $1.50 to $2.50 for telephone landlines and wireless phones from $1 to $2.50. (Carry over from previous years) (Requested by Deputy City Manager Pam Hodge)
Thaw the Freeze:
Request that local delegation to the Georgia General Assembly introduce local delegation to sunset the Columbus Georgia Homestead Assessment Freeze found at Ga. L. 1981, p. 1926 and substitute a new homestead exemption tax system effective for all homestead purchases after January 1, 2017. (Requested by Mayor)
Repeal of Hotel Destination Fee Imposed by HB 106 2015 Session:
This item requests repeal Section 3 of HB 106, to be codified as O.C.G.A. 48-13-50.3, which imposes a $5 per night fee on hotel lodging, a part of the transportation funding plan enacted by HB 170. (Requested by Mayor Pro Tem Turner Pugh)
Personal Transportation Vehicles (PTV’s):
This item requests an amendment to the provisions of O.C.G.A. 40-6-365(c)(3) which governs the ability of local governments registration of PTV’s which are allowed to be used on public streets in specifically designated areas. The amendment would allow inspection and registration of such vehicles annually instead of once every five years. (Requested by Councilor Davis)
Legislative Vetting Period:
Request that the local delegation support proposed statewide legislation to call for a forty-eight hour vetting period to any substantive amendment to legislation pending on the floor before either house of the legislature before final adoption of the legislation. (Request of Councilor Davis)

Deputy City Manager Goodwin stated the resolutions would be brought back to the Council on October 13, 2015, for their consideration and approval. The Hometown Connection and Legislative Agenda will take place on October 16, 2015, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Columbus Ironworks Convention & Trade Center, where the approved items will be presented to our Delegation.

At this point, Deputy City Manager Goodwin, called on Peter Bowden, Director of Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau to address the Mayor and Council. Director Bowden explained that the bureau supports the monitoring and oversight of the hotel/motel tax law.
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Deputy City Manager Pam Hodge began her update on the bond rating. During her introduction, she announced that Mr. Courtney Rogers, Senior Vice President of Davenport & Company was present to answer any questions that the Council may have.

Deputy City Manager Hodge stated that the Rating Update Report issued by the Moody’s Investors Service, was provided to Council. (This report is on fill in the Clerk of Council’s Office.) She further stated that according to the report, Moody’s has decided to downgrade the City’s bond rating from Aa2 to Aa1. The reason expressed for the downgrade was due to the decline in fund balance over the years and the potential reduction in troops at Fort Benning.

Mr. Rogers addressed the Mayor and Council to go through the specifics of the audit that were provided in the detailed report provided. The information that was provided compared where the City of Columbus stands in comparison to other municipalities in the State of Georgia.
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With there being no further business to come before the Council, Mayor Tomlinson then entertained a motion for adjournment. Mayor Pro Tem Turner Pugh so moved. Seconded by Councilor Henderson, a vote was not taken since there was no quorum present at the conclusion of the meeting, with the time of adjournment being 12:57 p.m.

Lindsey A. Glisson
Deputy Clerk of Council
The Council of Columbus, Georgia