Hasprey said that the Lincoln fee has not been raised in 10 years.
It has been the same since 1996. At that time the county asked to
incorporate a 5 percent increase for future contracts, but Mayor
Joan Ritter declined. The current city contract is through November
Hasprey reviewed the current condition of the facility,
staffing changes and some upcoming additional costs. She reviewed
records beginning in 1985, when the county took over the facility
from the humane society. She said that the city did not start at the
fee level hoped for and has not kept up with cost increases over the
years. Initially the county hoped to get $24,190 a year from
Lincoln, but the agreement with the city began at $20,000.
Expenditures at the facility have gone up each year, starting at
$76,000 and increasing to this year budgeted at $126,000, Hasprey
The current fiscal year was budgeted at $96,300 in revenues and
$126,000 in expenditures, leaving a $29,700 shortfall. 2006-2007 is
being budgeted the same.
Last year's audit has not been returned yet, but the last actual
figures available are from 2003-2004, a high year, showing total
expenditures at $146,000 and a shortfall of $28,804.
Animal control is not levied in Logan County. Nor does the county
put in an amount they will contribute to that line item. Rather,
they contribute from the general budget whatever it comes up short,
The facility has been through several changes this year,
including hiring a new veterinarian administrator and a new warden.
They're doing a great job of managing the facility, getting costs
down and making things run smoother, Hasprey said.
She said that there were two things prompting the proposed
increase for Lincoln:
- The county would like to pro-rate municipal contracts
according to usage.
- There are several major costs to cover soon.
"We are asking the city for their help," Hasprey said.
The fees are hard on the smaller communities, she said. A second
community dropped out last week because they could not afford their
$1,300 annual fee.
It was proposed in the county finance committee to consider
leveling the fees to communities according to usage. Lincoln's use
is 79 percent, Hasprey said.
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The facility is in need of a new truck. The last one, bought used
several years ago, was in the shop no less than 10 times last year.
They would also like to improve or replace cages that are 18
A few years ago, under county animal control chairman Pat
O'Neill, the animal control made a number of big improvements, which
included fixing up the cages, Alderman Jonie Tibbs said.
City sanitation chair Melody Anderson said that she had looked at
the current figures and when she projected them out, it looks as
though animal control will not come up short this year and may even
have $4,600 excess.
Hasprey left for another meeting but reminded the committee that
the county is asking for their help to be able to do some high-cost
things this year.
Anderson said her research indicated that in the original
agreement, when the county took over from the humane society, the
county was going to supply 30 percent and municipalities would each
pay 4 percent of the excess costs.
Aldermen Daron Whittaker, Wanda Lee Rohlfs and Marty Neitzel, all
sitting side by side, said that they would not agree to commit to
the increase without the county first budgeting their portion in a
line item. Whittaker said he would not vote for it unless the county
shows willingness to budget something for it.
There is currently a legal debate on the issue as well. According
to county authorities, the state's attorney has advised them that he
interprets the state law to say that they are responsible to pick up
dogs running loose in unincorporated areas.
Under contract with the city, the county is obligated to help the
city maintain its ordinances, which would mean picking up loose dogs
when called. This does not include patrolling, but going out when
called, city attorney Bill Bates said.
The city does not have a leash law for cats, so cat control
services are not required, though the pound does provide cat traps
for rental and does take in drop-offs.
It was also questioned if the county receives any taxes for
animal control, in which case city residents would already be paying
Animal control has been a long-running issue that has spurred
heated debate in past years. No tempers flared at last night's
meeting, but there are still questions about where and how to divide
the city and county financial responsibility and how to interpret
the state law.