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City Uses Goats To Combat Weeds
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While other cities lay off employees and furlough others, the City of Riverbank has 20 new 'employees' that started work Friday while saving precious city resources and using "green" or sustainable practices. These aren't your typical employees, however. They are goats.

Goat owner Steve Cahoon, for a nominal fee, will keep the goats in a fenced area of the city's storm drain basin off First Street and Highway 108 (Atchison Street) near the Riverbank Skate Park. The goats will do what they do best - eating - during a trial period of 30 days reducing weeds and saving the city approximately 60 percent of what would otherwise be spent there.

Where weed maintenance has drained city resources and otherwise blighted the community and created a fire hazard when neglected, said Economic Development Director Tim Ogden, the diligent work ethic of the twenty goats should prove quite invaluable. And unlike other City Hall employees, the goats need no special training, employee benefits or union representation.

The goats can keep down the weeds at a far cheaper price and with less noise and disturbance than sending out city workers equipped with machine tools and a backhoe, added Kathleen Cleek, senior management analyst at Riverbank Public Works. In any case the city doesn't want to drive a backhoe too close to the levees of the storm drain basin for fear of weakening or breaking them.

The goats were first spotted in Oakdale keeping the weeds in check on a future commercial development. Once their work was done there, Cahoon was happy to bring them over to Riverbank.