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County's animal shelter share would be $1 million

June 07, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

The Washington County Commissioners are scheduled today to consider a 15-year animal control contract that includes a promise to pay almost $1 million for a new animal shelter.

The animal control contract with the Washington County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals would require the county to pay 70 percent of the cost of a new SPCA shelter.

The current estimate for the shelter building is $1.325 million, which would make the county's share about $927,500.

The first payment would not be due until after the new building is occupied. The building would be built near the current shelter.

Under the contract, the county would pay the SPCA $286,000 in the fiscal year that begins July 1. The county paid the SPCA $275,000 this year for animal control.

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Under the proposed contract, the SPCA would get $383,511 in fiscal 2001, and the amount would increase by 4 percent in each subsequent year. Provisions of the contract provide for a renegotiation if the funding hike were too much or too little, County Attorney Richard Douglas said.

Commissioners Paul L. Swartz and William J. Wivell said Monday they oppose the 4 percent increase.

If approved, it would be the first time the SPCA has had a written multi-year contract with the county for animal control costs, Executive Director Shelly Moore said.

The SPCA needed a long-term commitment from the County Commissioners as it moves ahead with plans to build an animal shelter with four times more capacity than the existing one, she said.

The current shelter has come close to being full, Moore said.

Animal control involves the protection of people and animals, Moore said. It includes dealing with animals that are biting people, killing livestock or running at large, as well as rescuing animals that are hurt or in danger.

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