By ANDY MCCAMMON
The decision to end the City of Brazil's 12-year association with the Clay County Humane Society was unavoidable, according to Mayor Tom Arthur.
At this point, Arthur confirmed, a city-administrated animal control plan for 2006 is a certainty. He said he would be willing to work with the humane society in 2007, provided that the society relaxes some of the stipulations of its most recent proposal.
"A willingness to cooperate, a reduction in cost and a pick-up service would be nice," he said. "A variety of things would need to change to make it work."
Arthur said the city attempted to negotiate an acceptable contract with the Clay County Humane Society before settling on a city-administrated plan. The humane society tendered its first 2006 proposal in mid-July, Arthur said, asking for a base amount of $31,000 from the city, an 82 percent increase over the allotment for 2005.
Arthur responded to the humane society's initial request for $31,000 with an offer to work toward a return to the $22,000 allotment the city had provided prior to the 2005 agreement. The negotiation didn't get too far, he said.
"We couldn't get the shelter to budge," he said.
Humane society officials later rescinded the initial proposal. They tendered a second proposal with a request for $19,000 in funding on Oct. 26, but the new terms eliminated the pick-up service the shelter had offered in past years.
"That was one of the main things they provided to us," Arthur said. "Under their second proposal, we still would have had to hire an employee (to pick up and transport animals)."
Arthur contacted several other area shelters while preparing the city-administrated 2006 animal control plan, and has reached a tentative agreement with a facility in Clinton, Ind. that charges a $15 intake fee. The Clay County Humane Society charges $50 for each animal it accepts, an expense which under the proposed plan, would have been covered by the city.
"That number seems excessive," he said.