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Welcome Tango - when amended ordinance is approved

Welcome Tango - when amended ordinance is approved

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Jane Fuller and Tango

Jane Fuller holds her pet skunk Tango at the Wapello City Council meeting in December. The council has given her permission to keep the skunk as a pet, after amending a dangerous animal ordinance.

WAPELLO - It may take a few months, but Wapello city officials are apparently willing to welcome Tango the skunk to the community.

Tango is the seven-month-old pet skunk of Janet Fuller, Grandview, who asked the city council Thursday to allow her to keep the pet so she could move to Wapello.

According to the city’s ordinance, a variety of dangerous animals are prohibited in the city. The list includes pit bull dogs, badgers, wolverines, most members of the weasel family, black widow spiders, scorpions, raccoons, opossums and skunks.

Fuller, who brought Tango to the council meeting, said the pet skunk would not pose any danger to community residents or visitors.

“She has never been in the wild, she was born in captivity,” Fuller said.

Fuller also told the council she had the proper license from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources that identified Tango as a pet skunk and the animal had been vaccinated for rabies.

Fuller said she had gone through the same approval process with the Grandview City Council that allowed her to keep Tango in that community.

“She is fixed, so she can’t spray and she doesn’t go outdoors,” Fuller said as Tango draped herself over her owner’s shoulder.

“I don’t want to move (from Grandview) and then you guys say (no),” Fuller explained about asking the council for the early permission.

“This is kind of unique,” council member Brett Shafer said after hearing Fuller’s request.

Council member Gene Arnold said he felt the city would need to amend its current ordinance to even allow pet skunks before any final decision was made.

Mayor Shawn Maine agreed and suggested the ordinance could be amended to allow the council to allow some pets with city council approval. That would be similar to the process the city now has in place to allow chickens inside the city limits.

An amendment would take three readings and officials said that could mean a delay until February to formally allow the skunk to reside in town. Fuller said that could create a problem with her move, especially if the council failed to follow through on its amendment.

“I’m not going to amend if you are not going to approve (allowing the skunk),” Maine told the council.

After watching the council members, Maine acknowledged there were no vocal signs of agreement, but plenty of head nods.

“If they say they are going to do something with a head nod, they are going to do it,” he assured Fuller.

Arnold agreed.

“We don’t play games,” he said.

In other action, the council agreed to hold a Jan. 5 public hearing on a proposed amendment to the city’s Fiscal Year (FY) 17 budget. The amendment calls for an additional $196,552 in revenue and $382,882 in expenses.

The $186,330 difference would decrease the city’s ending balance from $878,187 to $691,857.

According to the amendment worksheet, the additional revenue would come from grants, equipment sales and insurance reimbursements. The added expenses included new equipment for public safety, public works and recreation; increased insurance costs and higher sewer construction expenditures.

In final action, the council:

• Approved the transfer of almost $5,500 from the city’s road use and water funds to its debt service fund to cover a payment for the Second Street Repair project;

• Accepted the Dec. 2 resignation of public works staffer Chase Strickland.

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