Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Magistrates discuss increase to dog adoption rates

J-E News Editor
Webster County magistrates discussed a measure on Monday that could see the cost of adopting a dog in Webster County increased by as much as $80. It’s a bit of a controversial increase, but one that Dog Warden Aaron Richmond says  is greatly needed.

“Only a very small amount of the animals we pickup are ever adopted,” he told the fiscal court. “Most of them go to animal rescue operations like Mollie’s Mutts. I don’t see that changing much either way.”
According to an ordinance already in place in Webster County, anyone who adopts a dog from the county dog pound has 30 days to have the animal spayed or neutered. According to Richmond, most of the time that is never done.
“The real question is do you want a spay/neuter program in Webster County,” Richmond said. “It is our policy, but we are the only county in our area that doesn’t require it to be done up front.”
The changes, which the new dog warden proposed to the court, would require people wishing to adopt a dog to pay the spay/neuter fee up front. They would then be given a voucher, which they could take to a vet to have the work done. The hope is that if they are having to pay for it anyway, they will go ahead and obey the law already in place.
Currently it costs $15 to adopt, $5 of which goes to purchase a dog tag. The increase in the price will also include the spay/neuter free ($75) and a rabies shot ($12). That means $92 of the $95 fee will directly cover the cost of adoption.
“These fees seem high, but the pound is operated on tax dollars and does not make anything back,” said Magistrate Tony Felker.
Richmond added that rescue operations that run their own spay/neuter program most likely will not be charged the extra fee.
Discussion of the proposed changes was tabled until the next fiscal court meeting, which will be on Monday, August 23 at the courthouse.
In other business, the court awarded a bid of $59,103 to E&M Heating and Air of Sebree to replace the county’s aging boiler. The 1940s model boiler currently in the building stopped working, and the county has tried in vain to find replacement parts. 
Magistrates approved three additional tax rates on Monday. The county motor vehicle and water craft rate will be 17.2 cents per $100, the same as last year. Rates for both the Extension District and the Ambulance Board fell for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. For the extension district, real/personal property rates will be 5.9 cents per $100 and 3 cents on motor vehicles. The ambulance board will get 6.5 cents on real/personal property and 6.0 on motor vehicle.
The court approved a $15,981 project for Webster County 911. Currently the 911 Dispatch building, which is located on the same property as the Webster County Jail, gets both it’s daily and emergency power via a cable that crosses under the road that separates the jail from the 911 office.
“It’s been that way since 1989,” said 911 Director Doug Sauls. “We know the line has suffered some damages and deterioration over time. Having an underground electric source also ads to our lightening problem.”
Sauls also told the court that last winter the 911 was only getting 60 amps through the old cable, which was not even enough to heat the building.
“We either need to separate it and get our own power source, or we need to dig it up and replace it,” said Sauls. “But that would mean digging up blacktop.”
Magistrates approved a bid from State Electric to move the power line overhead and to install a new gas powered generator at the 911 office.

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