City residents may no longer be able to call upon the Clay County Humane Society for assistance regarding animal control issues.
During Wednesday's special meeting, the Common Council of the City of Brazil and the Humane Society were unable to come to terms on a new contract for 2009.
In a meeting earlier this month, the council offered $12,500 for animal control services, but Wednesday, the Humane Society responded by saying it would accept no less than the $25,000 they had been receiving in recent years.
"It is an unfortunate situation," Humane Society Board Treasurer Ed Gallatin told the council. "But, we just can't provide services for that low of an amount."
This was the third instance where the two sides met to discuss a potential contract renewal, and the council continuously informed the Humane Society all city departments were in a situation where budgets had to be cut and the city couldn't afford to offer any more than they had.
Many of the council members asked the Humane Society if they would still respond to calls from city residents because they should still be included under the county's contract with the shelter.
However, the Humane Society was unable to give a clear response.
"If a call comes through the Clay County Sheriff's Department, we will respond," Gallatin initially said.
But other Humane Society representatives said the board had agreed not to respond to any calls within the city if no contract was in place.
"I hate to see the people who pay taxes to the county not receive services," Glover said in response to the confusion. "The Humane Society's appropriation from the county should cover services to the city as well since Brazil is part of the county."
Humane Shelter Manager Rick Moore told the council services would still be minimal, if any at all, even if they accepted the $12,500 offer.
"You have to look at what services you would be able to receive for $12,500, which would be absolutely nothing," he said.
Mayor Ann Bradshaw quickly responded, "We didn't receive the amount of services we should have for the $25,000 either," she said.
Council President Bill Lovett asked the Humane Society if they responded to calls from other cities in the county, like Clay City, which do not have a separate contract, to which he received no answer.
Humane Society Board President Bill Bell told the council its costs $35,000-$40,000 to respond to calls within the city alone.
"It costs about $4.50 per day per animal to feed and keep them at the shelter," Moore added. "How are we supposed to make up the extra funds? If we get half the money, we can only take half the animals."
Bradshaw questioned the motives for turning down the offer if the Humane Society is struggling.
"If the shelter is having such a rough time, then why are you turning down the offer for $12,500?" she asked.
Brazil Clerk-Treasurer Karen McQueen followed up on Bradshaw's comments by explaining the city was not singling them out by proposing the cut.
"The $12,500 offer is not a punishment," McQueen said. "We have asked every department to make significant cuts."
However, the Humane Society remained staunch in requesting the full amount.
"We are just looking at what services we can provide for what dollars," Gallatin said.
Despite not being able to create a contract for this year, the Humane Society said it would not be averse to trying again next year.
"Hopefully we can work something out in the future," Moore said.
In other business during Wednesday's meeting, the council:
* Made one modification to its Personnel Policies Handbook and approved it for 2009. The modification leaves dress code policies to the discretion of the Mayor and supervisors of each respective department,
* Passed a resolution asking for the redistribution of the maximum property tax levy for the upcoming year. After reviewing the budget, it was discovered some city department would be receiving more than they were going to need, which would create a shortfall in the General Fund. McQueen said she had discussed the issue with the Department of Local Government Finance, who was favorable to the redistribution, and
* Passed a separate resolution allowing the city to transfer excess funds within various department to cover cases of minimal overspending. McQueen explained in each case, the departments had enough funds leftover to cover the expenses.
The next regular meeting of the Common Council of the City of Brazil will be Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2009, in the Council Chambers at Brazil City Hall.