One organization is receiving a slightly higher amount for contractual services to the City of Brazil.
During Wednesday's meeting of the Common Council of the City of Brazil, the Clay County Animal Rescue, Inc., Center Point, received the animal control contract for the third year in a row.
The council began the meeting with discussions about the contract funding, which was $12,500 in 2009 and 2010, with the possibility of being slightly boosted.
In previous council meetings, consideration had been taken for the amount to be raised to $13,500.
"We have some room in the budget where we can move funding around," Clerk-Treasurer Karen McQueen said during Wednesday's meeting.
With that statement, council member Sam Glover made the motion, seconded by Pat Heffner, to increase funding in the contract to $13,500. The motion passed 3-0 with council members Brad Deal and Steve Lamb not in attendance.
After passage of the increase, Tammy Rothrock, owner of TJ Rescue and Sanctuary Corp., 13445 North County Road 400 West, Brazil, questioned whether Heffner should not have voted due to a perceived conflict of interest.
"I believe Pat Heffner is vice president of the Clay County Animal Rescue Board," she said.
When asked to provide proof of the accusation, Rothrock said she did not have any with her.
"We cannot function off of innuendo or things that cannot be backed up," Glover replied. "We have to act on fact."
Rothrock claimed she was not making innuendo and would bring proof once she had it.
Clay County Animal Rescue co-owners John and Chrystll Owens said their board members include themselves and Lester Fields, while Heffner stated, "I am on a lot of boards, but not that one."
Meanwhile, council members and Mayor Ann Bradshaw extended the contract offer to representatives of the Clay County Humane Society first.
"We just can't run the shelter for $13,500," Humane Society Board President Anita Hightshoe told the council. "After the cost for food, cleaning supplies and gas to retrieve animals, we would be losing money."
Hightshoe also asked the council if they were aware ownership of the building and grounds would revert back to the city if the Humane Society were to "go belly up."
The council said they were aware of the terms of the deed to the property, while McQueen clarified that the city was not financially responsible for the Humane Society.'
Hightshoe added there would be an additional risk to taking a contract for less than their current contract with the county.
"I have also heard that if we accept a lower contract with the city, the county would drop us," she said. "We currently are funded by the county contract, along with numerous fundraisers, adoptions and spay/neuter clinics, and we watch every penny."
"City residents pay both city and county taxes, so part of the taxes they pay goes into the funding provided to the shelter through the county's contract," Lovett said.
Glover said the biggest problem in bumping up the contract amount has been the lack of funds in the city budget in recent years.
Bradshaw added, "At some point, hopefully we can get the amount back up."
With the Humane Society turning down the animal control contract offer, Glover made a motion to renew the contract with the Clay County Animal Rescue for one year. The motion was seconded by Heffner and passed 3-0.
"We are happy to be working with the city for another year," Chrystll Owens said.
Bradshaw told The Brazil Times the city and council will continue to work on revamping the animal ordinance at the start of the new year, but has not set a date for another work session to discuss the matter further.
The next regular meeting of the Common Council of the City of Brazil will be 7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011, in the Council Chambers of City Hall.