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Commissioners may increase animal shelter fees

by Paul Darst

STAFF WRITER

During the past decade, the cost of euthanization at the Harrison County animal shelter has been on the rise.

But the Animal Control Center has not increased fees to offset those increasing expensive.

That might change this summer.

Harrison County Commissioners Thursday tabled a proposal to restructure the fee system for boarding animals at the center. The plan will result in a net increase in revenue, said James Harris, commission administrator.

"The fee hasn't been increased in years," he told commissioners.

"Their costs have skyrocketed 100 percent."

The shelter charges area municipalities $2.50 a day for boarding each animal, Harris said. But there is a $15 cap on that charge.

Under the plan, the daily rate will drop to $2 a day, and the cap will be dropped.

"It will reduce the costs for animals that are there for a short time, but increase costs for the ones that are there for longer," Harris said.

Besides higher euthanization costs, the shelter is faced with other new expenses, Harris said. There has been discussion about adding to the center's building.

And they are considering buying up to 3,000 new cages to handle the expected increase in cats caused by a new Clarksburg initiative to pick up strays, Harris said.

Although commissioners agreed that there is a funding problem, President Roger Diaz opposed implementing the plan now.

"I think we should maintain the status quo for now until we're up against the wall," Diaz said.

Commissioners agreed to table the plan until the first meeting in July, which is the first one of the new fiscal year.

In other action, commissioners:

n Approved a bid for the purchase of a time synchronization system for the Bureau of Emergency Services. Cost of the equipment will be $12,000.

n Approved adding a new dental/vision plan for county employees. The plan is offered by the West Virginia Association of Counties, and will cost the commission $18 per employee who wants the coverage.

n Approved a plan submitted by Circuit Clerk Donald Kopp to hire a new deputy clerk. The difference between the new clerk's salary and that of the former clerk will be used for merit pay for the office staff.

Staff writer Paul Darst can be reached at 626-1404.

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