By MATT KOESTERS
Call it a fresh start between the city of Jeffersonville and the Clark County Commissioners.
The commissioners voted unanimously to approve a new interlocal agreement with the city of Jeffersonville for the funding of the J.B. Ogle Animal Shelter. The three-year deal will cost Clark County $90,000 per year.
“I think it is the best possibility we have for taking care of animal control here in the county right now,” said Commissioners President Jack Coffman. “If we can maintain it at that price for the next three years, I’m OK with it.”
Clark County is the first of several government units named in the interlocal agreement to sign off on the document. The towns of Borden, Sellersburg, Clarksville and Utica and the city of Charlestown are also named as parties. The agreement requires that each party be responsible for a percentage of the animal shelter’s total operating budget based on their population.
If Borden and Utica sign the agreement, each would be responsible for 1 percent of the animal shelter’s operating budget, or $3,735 per year; Charlestown would pay 7 percent, or $26,145; Clarksville would pay 20 percent, or $74,700; Sellersburg would pay 6 percent, or $22,410.
Clark County’s share of the responsibility is not dependent upon other municipalities signing the agreement, said County Attorney Jake Elder.
The commissioners have struggled to pay for operating costs for the animal shelter in previous years. Coffman said the county would pay the bills “as long as we get approval from the county council.”
“That’s been the problem in the past, but when we prepare our budget for 2015, we’re going to make sure that money is in there for the animal shelter,” Coffman said.
Commissioner John Perkins, who has served as a commissioner since the beginning of 2012, said that was because the county council had zeroed out the amount from the commissioners’ budget in previous years. Perkins described the new agreement with Jeffersonville as a “fresh start.”
“Having served 20 years on the city council, I know for a fact that for years and years and years, the city of Jeffersonville paid the bulk of the shelter’s [expenses],” Perkins said. “... I felt they paid more than they should have for some of the other cities and towns.”
Perkins said he felt that basing the cost to each government unit upon population was equitable to everyone involved.
The county’s previous agreement with Jeffersonville was for $65,000 per year, but included a provision for the lease of space in the county building by the city. The county and the city agreed to amend that lease agreement in April 2013. Per that amendment, the city agrees to vacate the county building by the end of 2014.
LOOKING FOR IDEAS
The commissioners announced that they were interested in setting up public input sessions to get the opinions of residents in unincorporated areas on the county’s recycling program.
The county pays for six 20-yard bins located throughout the county where residents can drop off recyclables, but the commissioners are considering ending the program because they feel the county cannot afford the $60,000-plus-per-year cost to operate the program.
The commissioners want to hear from residents to get input on how the program might be changed and funded. No dates or locations were announced.