Coyotes, cougars and cops top discussion for County

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By Stan Welch

Coyotes, cougars and cops were the subjects of discussion at Tuesday’s meeting of Anderson County Council. At the request of District Seven Councilwoman Cindy Wilson, information concerning the control and disposal of coyotes was presented by County Staffer Steve Newton, who said that two weeks ago, all he knew about coyotes was that they aren’t very good at catching roadrunners.

He then presented a wide range of information on the wild canines, including the fact that they are currently in their breeding season and may be more active than usual. In April and May, the female will create a den and produce 5-7 pups.

He also explained that the extremely adaptable animals have expanded their habitat to include all parts of the county, including suburban areas and developments. He added that the animals, which usually hunt alone or in pairs, and subsist largely on small mammals, will on occasion attack livestock, such as chickens, calves and sheep.

Hunting or trapping coyotes is fairly easy in terms of licenses needed, or other restrictions. A standard hunting license allows the shooting of coyotes any time of the year on private property. No license at all is needed to kill one within a hundred yards of one’s home.

Night hunting is legal under certain conditions, as is the use of electronic callers. The laxity of the restrictions on hunting and trapping indicate how bad the problem has become.

In other business, the economic development project which has been code named “Project Cougar” for the last few months was confirmed to in fact be a proposed expansion by the Michelin company at their existing site. County Administrator Rusty Burns cautioned the Council and the audience that “This is far from done. We are still in the romance stage of this relationship.” (See related story)

A proposal by Anderson University to partner with the County in establishing the County’s emergency operations center (EOC) came under fire, mostly from District Two Councilwoman Gracie Floyd.

The proposal is for the County to lease a part of the top floor of the old Duke Energy building, recently acquired by the University, and to locate the EOC there. The proposal would call for the County to pay any costs in refurbishing its part of the building only, and to pay an annual lease of $54,000 for the space.

One of Floyd’s objections was that the County had recently voted to relocate the 911 facility to the airport, and the new proposal would interfere with that somehow. In fact, the 911 facility will stay at the airport. The EOC is a separate and different facility.

All that the Council voted on, with only Floyd opposed, was to put the conditions into a lease agreement form to be voted on at a future meeting.

Council also learned that the refinancing of several sewer bonds held by the County or held in conjunction with the city will result in savings of approximately $1.4 million over the life of the bonds.