By Tina Alvey
Joining a popular trend, a Ronceverte woman appealed to city officials Monday evening to permit residents to keep chickens within the municipal limits.
Terming chickens “pets with a purpose,” Christi Boothe explained that her desire to raise the fowl in a mobile coop stationed in her yard stems from an environmental consciousness, as well as a practical inclination.
“I recycle; I use a rain barrel,” Boothe said, noting she has a large garden that the chickens could help keep insect-free.
She said other benefits the chickens would bring include their output — fresh eggs and natural fertilizer.
Boothe presented council members with some of the research she had gathered and encouraged them to look into the issues for themselves. As an example, she said the WVU Extension Office has “a ton of information” on raising chickens.
Boothe also cited the acceptance of the chicken population in much larger nearby cities such as Beckley, Bluefield, Charleston and Roanoke, Va.
Mayor Gail White advised Boothe to take her proposal to the city’s planning commission, which will meet Monday at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall. It is up to the planners to research the issue and make a recommendation to council, the mayor said.
White warned Boothe, “Your neighbors are going to complain. Are you going to have a rooster?”
Boothe responded that any ordinance permitting chickens could address the issue of roosters.
“Make eggs, not war,” she quipped.
In other business:
— Police Chief J.R. Byer Jr. reported that in February he and his officers logged 950 man hours and made 21 arrests resulting in 32 charges. He said the department answered an average of 7.6 calls per day.
— City administrator Reba Mohler announced the finance committee will hold budget workshops on March 6, 18, 20 and 25. City Council will meet in special session at 7 p.m. on March 25 to adopt the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts July 1.
— Mohler also announced the filing period for candidates interested in running for mayor or one of two council seats, now held by Shawn Honaker and Barbara Morgan, that will be up for a vote in this summer’s municipal election. Candidates may file from now through April 2.
Election day in Ronceverte is June 4. The city holds staggered elections, with half of council and either the recorder or the mayor on the ballot for four-year terms in each biennial election.
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