New Syracuse residents John and Krista Voyles approached Syracuse City Council at their Sept. 13 meeting to discuss the city’s rules on how many pets are allowed per household within the city.
Currently, Syracuse only allows for two pets total.
The Voyles gave information on what other cities allow and how they charge for pet licenses.  
Some cities have a flat rate and allow as many as three dogs and five cats per dwelling.  
Bennet has no limit, but the charge goes up significantly after the first three animals, in order to ensure that pet owners are serious about caring for that many animals.
The Voyles asked that the city increase the allowed number of pets per household.  
After discussion on how many to allow and possible fees, City Council has asked City Attorney Jerry Stilmock to draft an ordinance for their review.
Test wells have been drilled on the city’s property south of town.  One of the wells had elevated levels of nitrates and arsenic that indicate it wouldn’t last as long as they would like.  
The lower aquifer had very good quality according to the testing.  
Council member Alan Britton presented the information on the wells and said they recommend doing the other previously approved test wells in order to get a clear picture of what is available on the land.
In other discussions, Britton approached the subject of total compensation. He asked that, moving forward, they take into account an employee’s entire benefits package when considering raises.  
Britton noted that adding wages and benefits shows what an employee actually earns.  City Clerk Chiona Morris said that they already had a hard time finding employees and keeping the wages low wouldn’t help with that issue.
Britton commented that he just wanted to make sure they were distributing the money in the best way possible, and he thought it would be helpful to have a breakdown of the overall budget showing percentages spent on recreation, wages, utilities, etc.  
A cost of living increase of 1.4 percent was approved and other increases will be reviewed on schedule as part of the annual review process.
The city received a request for Membership Dues for Southeast Nebraska Development District (SENDD) with whom the city has worked on previous grant applications.  
Mayor Otiz said that he has recently been disappointed with the services and no longer saw the value.  
Other City Council members agreed, and they agreed to withdraw the membership.  The City of Syracuse currently administers an Otoe Countywide Housing Rehab Payment Program, but that shouldn’t be affected by future membership.