Members of the Newport City Council meeting approved a revised animal control ordinance on first reading. Previously the ordinance set a limit of four dogs per household. The revised regulation would allow also for caring of additional hospice animals.

City Manager James Finchum summed up the revision before it was approved by the council.

“To allow anyone with hospice animals to apply for an exemption from the rule, with the filing of a $25 fee and an application which would be reviewed by a committee. As the animals pass away they would not be replaced, until the resident has only four animals,” he said.

The issue was raised several months ago after resident Vickie Turner was found to have more than the allowed number of animals following complaints from neighbors. She told the council her dogs are elderly and need care, saying she does not want to leave them but offered to not replace animals.

Community Development Director Gary Carver reported contractors will begin this week or next to install electrical and HVAC service in the former Tanner School.

Alderwoman Louanna Ottinger raised the issue of the need for water service on Rack Lane. The city previously had extended sewer service to the area because of drainage issues. The council agreed to provide water service to the three homes in question at a cost of about $5,000.

The roof of the Stokely Memorial Library was damaged by a falling tree during a summer storm. The council agreed to pick up the $1,900 in repair costs not covered by insurance.

Members gave approval to the Cocke County Health Council to hold its Oct. 15 meeting on the downtown Riverwalk.

Finchum proposed the speed limit around the various city parks be reduced to 20 miles per hour. The council will consider that issue at its November meeting.

The council agreed to look at the way other communities in the region deal with grass clippings on the street. Alderman Mike Hansel suggested clippings in the street are a public safety issue for motorcyclists, and in addition, they clog up storm drains. City Attorney Terry Hurst said many towns and cities have ordinances to address the issue.

The council also spent some time talking about appropriate ways to address the issue of criminal vagrants. Several citizens and Police Chief Maurice Shults addressed the issue.

Jamie Dubin called on the council to support her proposal to develop a public transportation system for local residents who work in Sevier County.

Mayor Roland “Trey” Dykes suggested Dubin contact a social services agency, such as ETHRA, for support in her proposal.

Arthur Styles was appointed to the Newport Police Civil Service Board replacing Conway Wilson, who has resigned.

Mitchell Webb was re-appointed to the Newport Housing Board.