Mt. Vernon Register-News

July 3, 2013

No action taken on animal control proposal

By RICK HAYES rick.hayes@register-news.com
The Register-News

---- — SALEM — Salem City Council, during a Monday night meeting, took no action on a proposal from Jefferson County to house its animals.

City Manager Bill Gruen made two proposals to the council, but the council wanted more information, and were concerned about the three-year agreement sought by Jefferson County officials.

The Jefferson County proposal was considered, along with the option of renovation of two buildings currently owned by the city. The properties under consideration are a city building by the landfill and the other building is near Goff Plumbing, according to Gruen.

“There’s a desire to be further informed on costs that would be involved with having our own facility,” Gruen said Tuesday. “Without any further information, the city council was reluctant to look at other contractors.The fact they took no action is not a disapproval of the agreement; they just took no action.”

Gruen estimated it would cost the city between $160,000 and nearly $200,000 for construction and startup costs for a renovation project, adding the first year operating costs would be approximately $110,000.

Jefferson County officials have indicated the current animal shelter may be expanded, although no proposals have been introduced to the County Board for action.

Jefferson County Board approved the three-year proposal for the city of Salem at its June 17 meeting.

Information states the contract with Jefferson County would cost the city of Salem a minimum of $1,500 per month with an additional fee after the first 25 dogs are received by the county.

Gruen pointed out that talks with Jefferson County have been fruitful, and he is appreciative of the efforts made by Jefferson County officials to reach out to Salem.

“The people that I’ve been working with at the county level, including animal supervisor Martin Boykin, County Chairman Robert White and Suzy Tate have been great to work with,” Gruen said. “We have a handshake agreement that if we need to use their facility on an as needed basis we can do so. The people we have been working with have been fantastic, and the spirit of what we’re talking about is a collaborative action to provide government services to the public on a more efficient cost basis.”