WARNER ROBINS — Warner Robins officials approved the city’s first millage rate increase — though very slight — in years.
The council unanimously approved a new millage rate of 9.261 mills at its meeting Monday. The rate is up from last year’s rate of 9.247. One mill is equal to $1 of tax on every thousand dollars of taxable property value.
The council also unanimously passed an ordinance making changes to its animal control protocol, specifically regarding the restraining of animals. Councilman John Williams said before the vote that the changes make it unlawful to restrain dogs at home with a tethering device.
In May, Warner Robins Police Department Capt. Brenda Parks-Mathern, who runs the city’s animal shelter, told officials from Warner Robins, Perry, Centerville and Houston County that the current code wording made it so that people were tying their animals up at home, leaving them vulnerable to attacks and even doing harm to themselves.
“I’m hoping we can approve this,” Williams said. “We need to stop the suffering of these animals.”
Council also passed an ordinance dealing with tampering with utility equipment and theft of services. City Attorney Jim Elliott said the ordinance was requested by Flint Energies, which has had trouble getting convictions for those found to have vandalized meters with the intent to illegally acquire power services.
For those found tampering with their meters, there will be a $250 per day fine for the first offense, and $1,000 per day fine for the second offense. Each day would be counted as a separate charge.
The council also approved Warner Robins attorney Greg Bell to take over as public defender, with John Nixon as an alternate. The position was held by Rabb Wilkerson, who vacated it after he was appointed Houston County District Attorney by Gov. Sonny Perdue this summer.
Attorney Pam Spencer was selected as the Municipal Court judge designee.
Residents of the Jefferson Hills neighborhood continued to press city officials for answers on the future of city land near Ga. 247, behind Huntington Middle School, that was supposed to be made into a sports complex. Larry Holmes, president of the Houston County NAACP, also asked the mayor and council to provide answers to the citizen’s group.
Councilman Bob Wilbanks said there never has been a vote to reconsider using the land for something other than the sports complex. Mayor Chuck Shaheen said progress is being made on the land’s use.
To contact writer Marlon A. Walker, call 256-9685.