SARTELL -- More than 50 people gathered at Sartell City Hall last night (Wednesday) to provide their thoughts on chickens at the first "Sartell Says" debate.

"Sartell Says" is a new debate that address key issues within the community that may one day make the agenda of a city council meeting.

Patty Candella is the producer and mediator of "Sartell Says." She says they wanted to start these debates to help promote community engagement.

Last night's topic was "Chickens in the backyard; Should they be allowed to roost in residential neighborhoods."

Before the debate the community was asked to vote on how they felt about the issue.

The vote started with 20 for, 10 against and 17 undecided.

During the debate four local experts had five minutes to present their case either for or against the topic.

Jean Lavigne is the environmental studies assistant professor at the College of Saint Benedict. She argued that chickens should be allowed in neighborhoods.

St. Cloud State University economics professor King Banaian says there are much more pressing matters at hand besides chickens.

After hearing from both sides the audience was allowed to ask the experts questions before they made their final vote.

The debate concluded with a final vote of 23 for, 17 against and 4 undecided.

Candella hopes to have 4-5 more community debates throughout the year.

If you have a suggestion for the next "Sartell Says" topic you can email the City of Sartell.

Scroll down to see photo's of last nights debate.

Crowd continues to file in for the first "Sartell Says" Debate. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)
Pennies are handed out to the voters. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)
First votes are being cast. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)
Panel of experts get ready to talk about chickens. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)