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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • Butterfield will not allow birds to be kept as pets

  • Sandmeyer said Butterfield Foods spends hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to make sure that its animals are being handled humanely. They hope not to attract the attention of local PETA organizations, which Sandmeyer says may go to extremes to make a point.
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  • Butterfield City Council Member Nick Mathistad brought a new ordinance to the Tuesday, March 11 council meeting. This ordinance would have allowed residents of Butterfield to keep chickens, poultry or fowl within city limits.
    The ordinance as it stood stated that any general restriction livestock could not be kept in a residential area.
    "I just wanted some chickens and ducks in town," said Mathistad.
    Tom Sandmeyer of Butterfield Foods had some concerns over the introduction of this new ordinance.
    "Our concerns are of disease," said Sandmeyer. "If a disease gets carried into town it could infect our birds and could shut our business down."
    Butterfield Foods ships thousands of birds everyday and is a major contributer to the Butterfield Economy. A shut down of that business in Butterfield would be detrimental.
    "We couldn't afford to not have [Butterfield Foods] here," said Mayor Ken Pankratz. "We'd have to spend $50 to $60 more a month for twenty years without [Butterfield Foods] here."
    Sandmeyer said Butterfield Foods spends hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to make sure that its animals are being handled humanely. They hope not to attract the attention of local PETA organizations, which Sandmeyer says may go to extremes to make a point.
    "It's a big concern to us that the birds are held humanely and have their shots," said Sandmeyer. "It's pretty nerve racking because it only takes one and we're done."
    Sandmeyer asked that if birds were to be kept in town, that they would be looked after and inspected as stringently as the birds are inspected at Butterfield Foods.
    "We're kind of in a unique situation here with where our town is at," said Pankratz.
    The Butterfield City Council moved to dismiss the request for an ammendment to the standing ordinance.
    Council Members met with Keith Pankratz of city maintenance. Pankratz reported on some of the things that had been going on through the month of February.
    Butterfield received the dump truck that was approved during the last council meeting.
    "We have the replacement dump truck – it's working really well," said Pankratz. "I would like to keep the front plow off the old truck."
    The Butterfield City Council approved Pankratz request to put the old truck on Craig's List, selling for $3,500 with the plow and $2,000 without.
    Butterfield has had two water main breaks and one service line break this year so far. Service line and water main breaks are not unusual for roads with older structures.
    The council will also be moving forward with the hiring of people for summer mowing. There was some discussion about merging the part time summer and winter positions, but that idea will be discussed further at future meetings.
    Page 2 of 2 - Pankratz reported that he had taken the Class C Wastewater Exam and is awaiting the results.
    "It could go either way right now, it was a difficult test," said Pankratz.
    If he passes the exam he will be licensed to operate the Butterfield plant.
    Butterfield Fire Chief Blane Braaten met with the Butterfield City Council to discuss possible by-law changes for the fire department.
    The by-law change discussions have been taking place monthly since the first of the year. Braaten said most of the fire department was ok with the way the by-laws were written.
    "Nobody wants to change anything in the by-laws," said Braaten. "There's been more of a deal brough up about the by-laws now than in the last eight years."
    A list of suggestions for possible by-law changes is being submitted to the fire department for approval. They include changes in required yearly meetings, training and budget items. The changes require a two-thirds vote before they will be accepted into the fire department by-laws.
    Other Business:
    John Graupman attended the meeting and the council approved change order three with a deduction of $27,000.
    Council members discussed forming an EDA, personnel and tree committee. These committees would be made up of council members and citizens of Butterfield.
    Accepted payment of bills, financials and previous meeting minutes.
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