HOULKA -- New Houlka’s Mayor and Board of Aldermen earlier this month took steps to upgrade a part of Town Hall occupied by the Fire Department, discussed seeking a grant to pave city streets, and discussed what to do with stray dogs.

The actions took place during the board’s regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5.

Attendees included Mayor Jimmy Kelly, Alder Ladies Kimberly Murphree and Bonnie Brown, Aldermen K. C. Gates and Dustin Eaton, City Clerk Janie Tutor, and Attorney Kevin Howe.

Alder Lady Beverly Davidson was not present.

Others at the meeting were Tim Davidson, Derek and Danielle Earp and David Huffman.

Aldermen took the following actions at the meeting. All votes were unanimous unless otherwise noted.

Aldermen:

--Heard from Derek and Danielle Earp, who own a local auto repair shop and recently joined the Houlka Volunteer Fire Department.

The couple addressed the board about working on the back of Town Hall occupied by the Volunteer Fire Department. This would include painting the doors and all woodwork, painting or staining the floor of the bay where the fire truck is parked as well as putting lettering on the doors outside. Aldermen approved the work.

--Heard from Tim Davidson, a long-time resident who lives just outside the town limits, who addressed the board about the condition of the town streets. Davidson asked if the board would allow him to help get a grant from Three Rivers Planning and Development District to pave some streets.

He suggested Mayor Kelly get in touch with John Byars at Three Rivers to help with this project. No motion was made.

Mayor Kelly said late last week he has talked with Byars, and there are tentative plans for Byars to meet with the board at its February meeting.

--Discussed the stray dog problem inside the Town of New Houlka. The problem is that there is no place for the dogs after they are caught. The surrounding areas all have private dog pounds or are not accepting any dogs in their pounds or kennels. The Humane Society is not accepting dogs from another county either. Aldermen tabled this until a suitable solution is found. No motion was made.

Mayor Kelly said late last week the problem has developed in recent years. A town dogcatcher used to catch stray animals and take them to a Pontotoc facility.

That person left about 2014, and dealing with stray dogs has been an unsolved problem ever since, the mayor said.

The law requires three things: an ordinance allowing stray dogs to be picked up, a place to keep them and certified personnel to operate the facility -- none of which the town has.

Mayor Kelly said he’d like to see the problem resolved: “Occasionally there are dogs reported around the school, and we wouldn’t want one of the kids to get bitten.”

--Agreed to purchase a laptop computer for the Fire Department.

--Agreed to pay dues for each firefighter to the State Fire Department. These dues are $20 for each firefighter.

--Approved the agenda with addition of the stray dog situation around town.

--Approved Dec. 1, 2020 minutes.

--Approved paying all claims on the January 2021 Docket.

--Heard a routine Water Department report.

--Heard routine Police Department Report.

--Approved continuing the Covid-19 policy already set for Town Hall. Town Hall will remain closed to the general public and people will have to make appointments to enter it.

--Signed a revised no-smoking ordinance which includes e-cigarettes.

--Recessed until the regular board meeting on Feb. 2, 2021.

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