REDKEY — Chickens aren’t allowed within town limits.

Redkey Town Council didn’t budge on its ordinance prohibiting the animals after hearing a request to amend it Thursday.

It also accepted a formal resignation letter from town marshal Todd Miller.

Redkey resident Gavin Grady explained he has a flock of chickens and was recently told he wasn’t allowed to have them and ticketed for the violation.

“I was wondering why it wasn’t allowed and hoping to see about changing the rule to allow (chickens),” he said.

Grady named other cities in Indiana — his list included Portland, Bloomington, Evansville, Fishers, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis and South Bend — he said allow a certain number in a flock. He requested council members amend the ordinance in relation to chickens, not all livestock or poultry.

“I know a lot of you that I talked to were concerned about ‘this becoming a farm,’” he said. “My house isn’t a farm, unless you call collecting your own rainwater and gardening a farm. I just don’t understand.”

Council president Erik Hammers explained the reasoning behind the ordinance is to prevent the town from having a large number of livestock or poultry.

“The fact that, if you get your 15 chickens, and I get 15 chickens, and everybody else has 15 chickens, and (then) three horses, two cows, two pigs, pretty soon we’d have a nasty situation,” he explained.

Grady noted a house that is outside of town limits but near Redkey Elementary School has horses. He advocated for having chickens, saying they don’t smell or cause loud noises.

“You have more issues with dogs,” shouted a woman in the crowd.

Council member Gary Gardner said he talked to 20 different residents, 18 of which were opposed to having chickens in town.

Grady later noted a neighbor who owned chickens purchased a loud rooster, leading to complaints. (He said his neighbor no longer has chickens.) Hammers pointed to this as one reason for not amending the ordinance. Grady said he would be open to only keeping hens, not roosters.

Council members Dottie Quakenbush, Randy May, Gardner and Hammers (absent John Pierce) took no action on the matter.

In other business, council members also accepted the town marshal’s resignation. Hammers noted Miller’s last day is June 13. He is using his remaining time off (vacation days and sick days) through that date. Jay County Sheriff’s Office is mainly handling calls in the meantime.

“At this time, we are in the process of exploring our options and looking into hiring and bringing in two more officers,” noted Hammers.

Miller turned in his letter of resignation Monday, leaving the town without an officer in its police department. (The second-shift position has been vacant since November, and former deputy marshal Tim Fishbaugh resigned near the end of April.)

In his letter, Miller cited multiple reasons for high turnover at the police department, including the department’s lack of a take-home vehicle policy, no overtime pay or retirement fund and “unaffordable” family plan insurance.

He’s been hired to work for Jay County Probation Office starting in June.

A few local residents in the crowd blamed council members for taking too long to hire more officers to the department. They also expressed disapproval at having response from sheriff’s office as opposed to having an officer in town.

“What happens if one of my girls are robbed? Or beat? Am I going to wait on Dunkirk to get here now?” asked one local business owner.

Council agreed — May dissenting — to accept Miller’s resignation.

Also Thursday, council heard an update about planned sidewalk and ramps near Morgan Redkey Park. The project, which consists of creating the amenities on Mooney Street from Morgan Drive to Main Street and on Main Street from Mooney Street to Elm Street, will likely be increasing in price because of inflation and other variables. (The project now includes adding signs along the road prohibiting parking on the sidewalks.) Chad Salzbrenner of Fleis and Vandenbrink Engineering estimated the project between $105,000 and $106,000. (Clerk treasurer Mary Eley reminded council about 80% of the total cost is covered by a Community Crossings grant received through Indiana Department of Transportation.)

In other news, council heard from Eley a new floor will be installed in the cabin during the second and third weeks of August.