SAN ANGELO, Texas (Concho Valley Homepage) — Mayor Brenda Gunter spoke during public comment in the Nov. 21 City Council meeting addressing local issues surrounding citations, public safety, aggressive stray dogs, the animal shelter and property taxes.
Gunter began her public comment by addressing the current public safety issue surrounding a potential mass departure of police officers from SAPD due to a lack of pay, benefits and support from governing authorities.
“I and all of City Council strongly support our police officers,” said Gunter. ” We understand what they do adds tremendous value to the quality of the life we have here in San Angelo. We know that the police force keeps our citizens feeling safe and secure in their home and in their place of business.”
She also addressed claims made against her by the San Angelo Police Officer Coalition that she wanted more citations and tickets to be written.
“If you watched the entire video you would have heard my message. It was simple – public safety is very important. It is up to the police leadership to determine how they do that,” said Gunter, “We as a city council have no authority over the police, as a council it is our duty to ask questions.”
Emphasizing the importance of public safety to the council Gunter said that they believed all issues involving pay including the police department had been resolved in the September budget meeting.
“Obviously, they had not,” said Gunter.
On the subject of property taxes, Gunter stated that the issue is based off the property tax rate which has been approved by the city council and for the second year in a row has been reduced. Additionally, she reminded the public that the city council has no authority over the tax appraisal office other than appointing members to the board.
“We have no authority over the tax appraisal districts as it relates to the dollar value of your property, ” said Gunter, “If you do not like the system please contact the Attorney General, the Comptroller’s Office and Governor Abbott or your state elected officials.”
Currently, the two biggest issues in the community surrounding the animal shelter are aggressive stray dogs and packs of dogs according to Gunter.
“Dogs are smart,” said Gunter. “Packs of dogs are moving targets but by the time a call is placed and an ASO Officer arrives they have scattered.”
Gunter said they are currently reviewing city ordinances to determine changes that could be made to control and deter the dog packs and aggressive dogs.
“No one wants a child to be attacked by a dog, no one wants anyone to be threatened by a dog, ” said Gunter. “Your input is needed and wanted, we are looking at all the issues attached to these problems.”
The City Council will be asking for monthly or quarterly updates from city staff to keep the public informed on what is being done to address and resolve the issues surrounding the animal shelter.
“Change must happen and we are here to make that happen all for the safety of our citizens,” said Gunter.