After 45 minutes of discussion between the Trenton City Council and the Green Hills Animal Shelter last night, the council voted to table a request from the animal shelter which was seeking an increase on their next contract.
The decision to table was approved six to one after City Administrator Ron Urton reported two other entities had expressed some interest. Urton said he’ll contact them to see if they want to present a proposal for council consideration. The only “no” vote on tabling a decision was by Glen Briggs. Jenn Hottes was absent.
When a committee later in the evening recommended approval of the city of Trenton budget, compensation to Green Hills Animal Shelter was kept at the current years’ figure of $13,700. The new contract year between the city and animal shelter begins May 1st – the start of the city fiscal year. It was felt a budget adjustment could be made if and when decided upon by the city council.
Green Hills Animal Shelter proposed a holding fee of $18.00 per day for animals housed for the city, plus an administrative fee of $2,200. The rabies holding observation fee would be $25.00 per day for a ten day period, an increase of $5.00. The animal shelter also proposed minor medical costs incurred during the holding periods will be billed to the city. This was described as animals that need to visit a veterinarian’s office plus antibiotics. It was stated the $18.00 a day rate is a break-even point for the animal shelter to care for the dogs and cats it’s housing.
During the discussion, it was noted 61% of the animals picked up by animal control come from the city of Trenton. After each is housed for five days, those animals become a shelter expense, not the city. The shelter on East 10th was described as often at or near capacity when holding 45 dogs and 35 cats.
Special adoption prices are offered to reduce the population, but it soon fills again. Board President Terri Webb reported of 130 dogs and 100 cats brought in last year by the city, only 31 dogs and three cats were claimed.
The condition of animal shelter finances also was discussed with the council. Tim Michael reported all LED lights were installed to reduce energy costs, but the facility also needs a new roof this year. He told the council existing funds might only sustain the animal shelter for five more years. The shelter holds fundraisers and receives donations throughout the year. Trenton is the only municipal contract the animal shelter has. Green Hills Animal Shelter operates with an estimated $150,000 in expenses per year including wages, food and supplies, utilities, maintenance and more.
The five individuals representing the shelter offered ideas for the city of Trenton to recover some of their costs. These include increasing the claims fee of $13.00 per day and increasing the pet license fee from $5.00.
The shelter also offered to assist if the city were to decide to implement a trap neuter release program for stray cats. Ultimately, in a period of time, they reported this would lower the cat population thus saving costs for both the city and animal shelter.