International Falls residents keeping chickens in violation of city ordinances have until Jan. 1 to get rid of them before they receive citations.

The action follows on the heels of a no vote Nov. 3 by International Falls residents to a ballot question that could have allowed chickens to be kept in the city.

The question received 1,557, or 52.27 percent, "no" votes, to 1,422 or 47.73 percent "yes" votes.

Meanwhile Monday, the Falls City Council on a 4-1 vote set Jan. 1 as the deadline for when people keeping chickens will be cited.

Mayor Harley Droba voted no, saying residents need more time to find new homes for their chickens. He proposed allowing until May 1 before citations are issues for keeping chickens, but a motion failed for lack of a second.

Other councilors were adamant that those keeping chickens past Jan. 1 should be cited because they have always been prohibited in the city.

Councilor Walt Buller said Jan.1 is enough time to rid the city of chickens.

Councilor Joe Krause, too, said those keeping chickens prior to the vote were in violation of city ordinances, and should have known they were not legal.

In other business, the council:

  • Agreed to seek a grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for electric vehicle fast chargers, that would be located in the city public parking lot behind City Drug.
  • Approved Droba's appointment of Krause to replace Ashley Hall on the Recreation Commission. Krause abstained from the vote.
  • Accepted with regret the resignation of Clint Chase from the Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals. Droba recognized Chase's many years of service to the city on boards and commissions "forever," described Droba.
  • Adopted a plan to sewer infiltration and inflow address infrastructure issues related to sanitary sewer
  • Heard from city Attorney Steve Shermoen that three properties scheduled for criminal court have been cleaned up and removed from the court docket. Shermoen said each of the properties pay the city's $150 administration fee. He said people may forgo court proceedings if they clean up their property to the satisfaction of city staff prior to being found guilty.
  • Heard from Droba that a number of vacancies on city boards and commissions come up for appointment with the new year. He encourages city residents to consider serving the city in that capacity.