No shock here: Council nixes electric fences

The Tracy City Council on Monday officially banned the use of electric fences within city limits.

After a public hearing was held Monday, the Council voted unanimously to prohibit Tracy residents from using such structures in any way. The resolution changed the original ordinance to add that “no fence shall be placed, constructed or maintained which is charged or connected to an electrical current to protect the public from casual or accidental contact with the electric fence.”

The amended ordinance will go into effect 30 days from this past Monday.

City Administrator Erik Hansen said, to his knowledge, there is only one electric fence in operation within city limits.

“We already told them that as we interpret the code as it exists today that we didn’t think their electric fence was legal,” he said. “This is just a way to make that even more clear.”

Council member Dave Tiegs made the motion to eliminate electric fences in town, and it was seconded by council member Jeri Schons.

In other business Monday …

• The Council passed a resolution waiving the $200 per day fee for the American Red Cross to hold three blood drives (Oct. 2, 2020, Dec. 8, 2020, and Feb. 22, 2021) at the Veterans Memorial Center.

Hansen said the pandemic has made this an even more important event than usual. However, there would be conflicts with the school district, as there will be some classes taking place away from the high

school this school year, and the VMC has been targeted as a venue for an off-campus classroom. Another conflict with the school would be the Nov. 3 general election, as the VMC is the polling place for Tracy residents.

“We’ll work with the school on that,” Hansen said.

On the same topic, Hansen essentially recommended the City waive the fee for the school to use the VMC for classes.

“It’s a good idea in the context of supporting the community,” said Hansen. “We’ll put that on the next agenda.”

Schons asked if the City could recoup some revenue lost if the school uses the VMC rent-free because of the pandemic.

“I think potentially, is the short answer,” Hansen replied. “That’s been a bit of a moving target … because lost revenue is something that people are interpreting a couple ways. At first I heard it’s only businesses that lost revenue, not governments, so we couldn’t apply, then I heard that nobody could apply because of lost revenue.”

Schons made a motion to approve waiving the fee for the Red Cross to use the VMC rent-free; Tiegs seconded.

• A presentation was given to the council on the City’s wellhead protection plan, which is about half way through the development process. The council was informed that the City’s water quality is good and that the City is in a great situation moving forward. The deadline for Phase 2 of the plan, which is where potential contaminant sources are looked for and at which time an action plan is formed, is May 2022.

As of now, none of the contaminants for which the Safe Drinking Water Act has established health-based standards has been found above maximum allowable levels in the city’s water supply, nor are any present at one-half of those levels, according to a Wellhead Protection Area report.

Naturally-occurring sulfate exceeds the secondary drinking water standard of 250 mg/l, which is a standard based on aesthetic, not health concerns.

The goal of the wellhead protection program is to prevent contamination from getting into the City’s groundwater.

• The Council recognized Boy Scouts Connor Towne and Owen Elsen for their volunteer work at last Saturday’s Tracy Clean-up Day. Tracy Deputy Clerk Diane Campbell noted that 94 residents took advantage of the event and that some went through a second time to dump refuse. Public Works Director Shane Daniels said about 85 yards of debris was collected, and 4 cubic yards of tires were collected and hauled away, plus a couple dozen fluorescent tubes, 30-35 mattresses, as well as numerous appliances.

“There were a lot of couches and chairs, too, and some of them were pretty wet, too — we’re hoping they were in people’s yards and they’re not anymore,” Daniels said, referring to the City’s drive to eliminate blight in town.

“Overall, I think it was a successful event and we hope to do it again next year,” Hansen said. “It’s good to have it … it’s a good event.”

• A public hearing will take place at 6:45 p.m. on Aug. 24, to review and amend the new Planning Commission ordinance, which hasn’t been updated, Hansen said, since 1965.

• After the regular meeting, the Council went into closed session to discuss possible litigation involving the City.