Lincoln County Commissioners are trying to chart a different course for the county’s animal shelter. Today they asked County Counsel Wayne Belmont to explore creating a special taxing district to provide animal shelter services for Lincoln County. A special five year property tax override aimed at supporting the shelter was passed in 2009 so the county has some time to come up with a “middle of the road” plan that doesn’t pit one side against the other as to what the management model should be. Sheriff Dennis Dotson has contended that the non-profit Friends of the Lincoln County Animal Shelter (FOLCAS) doesn’t have the experience or the transparency of a public agency, while FOLCAS claims that animal shelters nationwide are run by non-profits and at far lower cost to the taxpayers than those run strictly with higher paid public employees.
Discussions before the Board of Commissioners wound their way through a number of variations of several management themes including a special district with the commissioners acting as the board of directors, but with a strong advisory or oversight committee. The revenues from such a tax 35% to pay for the Sheriff’s Animal Control Officer operations, and 65% for the Animal Shelter itself. Animal Control Officers are often called to respond to serious criminal investigations (especially drug houses) where guard dogs are usually a part of the situation; not something non-profit employees would want to have anything to do with.
Belmont told NewsLincolnCounty.com that he will try to have something for county commissioners to review within a month. Again, all this appears headed for the voters who will have the final say on any special district consideration.