The City of Brazil and the Clay County Humane Society reached a tentative agreement for a 2006 animal control plan at the city council meeting Tuesday.
After an hour-long debate punctuated by moments of tension, humane society board members agreed to draft a contract that would require the city to pay the CCHS $25,000 in 2006 and closely mirror the language of the recently approved agreement be-tween the Humane Society and Clay County. CCHS Director Rick Moore agreed to submit a final contract to council members by Dec. 9.
Council members ap-proved the dollar amount of the agreement by a vote of 4-2, but the contract is still subject to final approval by the council at its Dec. 13 session.
The council presented the Humane Society with two counter-offers to its most recent proposal, which asked the city to appropriate $28,000 for 2006. One proposed a $20 per-animal fee for each day an animal was housed at the humane society's shelter. The other offered a flat fee of $22,000. When Moore indicated that the humane society would not be able to accept either suggestion, Councilman James Sheese suggested the $25,000 amount. Moore and the humane society board members in attendance deliberated briefly before expressing their willingness to go forward with the plan.
Despite the seeming end to a months-long struggle between city officials and the CCHS Board, Mayor Tom Arthur and Councilman Marty Beasley expressed reservations about the agreement.
"I still have some unanswered questions," Arthur said. "I couldn't (personally) justify the increase, but it is a council-- they appropriate the funds. It's up to them."
The city had previously appropriated $22,000 for a 2006 animal control plan. Beasley said he was unsure how the city's budget could accommodate the increase.
"I have nothing against these people. I just don't know where they came up with $25,000," he said. "I don't know where we're gonna get the other three."
The tentative agreement would require the humane society to provide a pick-up service for the city, responding to calls to the Brazil Police Department involving stray or vicious animals. The CCHS had furnished the service in each of its 12 previous contracts with the city, but it was omitted in the humane society's most recent proposals for 2006.
According to City Attorney Joe Trout, the 2006 contract will vary only slightly from previous agreements.
"It's gonna be very similar in form and substance to last year's contract and this year's county contract," he said.