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February 12, 2013

FEES AND THE PUPPIES: Jeffersonville set to cut off Clark County’s use of the animal shelter

JEFFERSONVILLE — If Clark County does not pay an overdue balance owed to the J.B. Ogle Animal Shelter by March 4, the shelter will no longer accept its animals.

A letter sent to the Clark County Commissioners by Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore and Corporation Attorney Tom Lowe demanded the county pay the money owed to the shelter from 2010-12.

Each year’s payment totals $66,150 with the total the city has requested equaling $198,450.

But Clark County Commissioner Rick Stephenson said the county does not have that amount of money. He says the commissioners agreed to pay $63,500 that was budgeted for the animal shelter by the Clark County Council.

“We had no more money besides that to give him,” Stephenson said. “We just couldn’t afford it,” he said of Moore’s demand.

However, Moore said the city and the county had a deal in place three weeks ago that included paying $125,000 later this year for the overdue payments and writing another check later in the year for the money owed in 2013. But he said the commissioners backed out of the deal and have cut off communication with the city.

“We went to [Moore] with a fair offer,” Stephenson said. “We wanted to do right by the animals.”

He added that part of a new agreement would have been the establishment of an animal shelter advisory board with the animal shelter director leading the board. With the animal shelter director in control, the goal was to focus operations on the facility itself.

“We’re trying to take care of animals and not make political statements,” Stephenson said.

The interlocal agreement that existed between the county and the city was more than 20 years old. Sellerburg, Charlestown, Clarksville, Utica and Borden also pay annual fees to the shelter for taking in the animals. Even with several extensions to the deal, the language in the contract did not extend past 1999. Last year Moore requested the overdue payments to the city, but former Commissioner Ed Meyer said at the time several issues needed to be resolved before the payments were made. Among the changes was that the interlocal agreement needed to be revamped to correlate to changes in the county’s population following Jeffersonville annexations.

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