Coyote management plan for Fairfield in the works

Fairfield could have a coyote management plan on the books by this spring, as legislation is expected to be presented before City Council at the end of the month.

In January, residents voiced concerns to the council about the city’s coyote population, which has developed into a problem that needs action, residents said. Some last month said their small pets had been attacked, and one said their dog had been killed.

Staff had provided legislative options along with a draft coyote management plan for review and discussion. City Manager Scott Timmer said the draft lays out on what actions of a coyote would warrant specific types of responses. The draft plan is based on guidance from the Humane Society of the United States and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The plan was also based on more than a dozen peer jurisdictions “to try to determine and finalize on the matrix of how we’d like to respond and how we would like to track,” he said.

Timmer provided draft legislation options for the council to consider, and deferred to the board on a timeline, though said he wanted to make sure council members could review it during this month.

Mayor Mitch Rhodus suggested putting the legislation on City Council’s agenda for the Feb. 27 meeting.

“Everybody’s had plenty of time to read it and form their opinions; I’ve read it twice,” said Rhodus, who wouldn’t vote on the legislation unless there was a tie.

Meyers initially didn’t want to have a vote so soon, saying City Council needed to have conversation and discussion before a vote, ensuring “we’re doing it the right way.”

“This has been a topic that I continue to get emails (about) and there’s tremendous passion, as there should be for this particular topic,” Meyers said.

Law Director Steve Wolterman suggested City Council could put a piece of legislation for a first reading, have public conversations, and modifications could be made to the legislation during subsequent readings of the proposed legislation. City Council reads all legislation over the course of three meetings before it’s potentially adopted unless it’s requested the bill is adopted as an emergency. Meyers said he would be against passing this as an emergency bill.

“This is a very public topic, there’s tremendous passion about it, and it allows this council to be able to have debate and conversation about the legislation, the recommendations, and the plan itself,” Meyers said.

City Council is next scheduled to meet at 7 p.m.Feb. 27 inside council chambers at 5350 Pleasant Ave.