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City, county to combine animal control services

By Kathy Chaffin
kchaffin@salisburypost.com
The Rowan County Board of Health has approved an agreement between the county and the city of Salisbury to consolidate animal control services.
As part of the agreement, the county will hire the city of Salisbury’s existing animal control officer for the duration of the three-year contract contingent upon satisfactory performance. The county and city are to work together to develop a single set of animal control regulations to be adopted by both the Salisbury City Council and the Rowan County Board of Commissioners.
The agreement, which will go into effect July 1, calls for the city to provide its current Animal Control truck and equipment to the county with the title to be transferred to the county for insurance, maintenance and replacement during the 2011-2012 fiscal year. At this time, the city is to pay half the cost of a new truck up to $15,000.
As approved by the board, the agreement also calls for the city to:
– Reimburse the county $15,000 per quarter for a total of $60,000 for fiscal year 2009-2010 to cover the cost of the Animal Control position required to assume services for the city;
– Reimburse the county $7,500 per quarter for a total of $30,000 for fiscal year 2010-2011 for the position, with the county assuming full financial responsibility of the city-funded position in fiscal year 2011-2012 and thereafter.
– Allow the Salisbury Police Department to work with Rowan County Animal Control officers when necessary for animal control safety issues in the city.
The agreement is to be signed by Carl Ford, chairman of the Rowan County Board of Commissioners; Salisbury Mayor Susan Kluttz; Rowan County Manager Gary Page; Salisbury City Manager David Treme; Rowan County Attorney Jay Dees; and Salisbury City Attorney F. Rivers Lawther Jr.
Health Board member Dan Mikkelson asked to be recused from discussion and vote on the agreement at Tuesday night’s meeting because he is an employee of the city. Fellow board members voted to grant his request.
Board member Chad Mitchell asked if the salary for the city’s Animal Control officer would match up under Rowan County Animal Control.
Health Department Director Leonard Wood said the employee has 13 years of experience. “It matches up pretty well,” he said.
Wood said the county would agree to continue the employee’s earned leave time, but her current level of seniority with the city would not transfer to the county.
Mitchell also asked about the call volume for the city vs. the county in trying to determine if one officer was enough to handle the city calls.
Rowan Animal Control Supervisor Clai Martin said the city averages about 50 calls a month vs. the 200 average for the county. The county, which has five officers, should be able to handle the city calls with one additional officer, he said.
Board members voting on the agreement approved it with a unanimous vote.
Wood thanked Mikkelson for recusing himself. “I think that was very appropriate,” he said.
Mikkelson noted jokingly that the discussion didn’t last as long without his participation. One of the newer members of the board, he sometimes asks several questions and has a lot to say during meetings.
Contact Kathy Chaffin at 704-797-4249.

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