LEIPSIC — During their last meeting, Leipsic Mayor Tony Wobler and members of the Leipsic Village Council found the opportunity to explain further a proposed ordinance restricting the presence of certain animals within village limits.

With the meeting closed to personal appearances due to the pandemic, former Leipsic Mayor Kevin Benton called in with questions and concerns regarding the ordinance.

Benton advised council of having purchased and provided ducks to his daughter and grandchildren last year. Initially intended as a meal, Benton explained the children grew attached to the animals

“The only question I have was that, I remember a couple years ago when I was up there, we had talked about the animal ordinance, and as long as they weren’t a problem with anyone and they weren’t causing a nuisance — such as noise, smell, that kind of thing — that they were going to allow it,” Benton said. “I’m just curious as to why, now, they are looking to eliminate it altogether. I don’t quite understand why, or who, thinks that it’s a good idea to have the waterfowl removed from town. I don’t understand why council is thinking at this time that they want to eliminate folks from being able to have these type of animals.”

“We’ve had some complaints about it,” Counci President Dave Heitmeyer explained. “So, from the time when you were mayor, it’s been addressed at a different sitting. so we’re just going to cover all our bases. Ducks may be the best neighbors your grandkids have, but we’re going to proceed with that as an ordinance for all animals of that type.”

“What would the complaint be?” Benton responded. “The ducks make absolutely no noise. They’re in a pen. In the evenings, they let them out. The ducks walk like a duck. It doesn’t run like a chicken. It doesn’t fly. It’s just a duck. I don’t understand why anybody would be complaining about these ducks.”

After Village Solicitor Barry Schroeder clarified that no specific complaint was filed regarding those specific ducks, Heitmeyer informed Benton of the thrust of the ordinance.

“Section D of our ordinance says, ‘An exception exists whereby a person may keep and harbor anything defined as fowl in Section C herein so long as said person contains the animal by cage or fencing and maintains the animal in said enclosure and on the owner’s property,’” Heitmeyer said.

“The original complaint was from some free-range chickens that were getting into other people’s gardens,” Wobler added. “That’s what this is about. You can still have your caged animals.”

With that said, Benton expressed relief. “That makes perfect sense. I have no problem with that,” he said.

Council was also informed the effort to reduce village debt was a subject of recent conversation and planning.

“Right before COVID hit, we approved actually to pay $1 million of debt off on the old water plant,” Utilities Committee Chair Rick Recker said. “Then, when COVID hit, we decided to hold onto the money. As a committee, we decided that, in January, we’re going to pay $500,000 in debt off, if that’s okay with the rest of council.”

Individually, council voiced their approval.

In other business, council:

• heard the second reading of an ordinance establishing Poggemeyer Design Group as the village’s primary engineering firm in 2021.

• heard the first reading of an ordinance authorizing the administrator to contract insurance coverage for village employees.

The next regular meeting of the Leipsic Village Council is scheduled for Monday, December 7, at 7:30 p.m.