It’s been a long and winding road for the Lincoln County Animal Shelter, but it might be finally heading into the home stretch as it learns what the future holds.
There has been no shortage of advice on how the shelter ought to be run and by whom. In fact there’s been so much derisive advice that the county commissioners figured they could never please enough people, on either side, to get a consensus. So they’re doing what any reasonable group of elected officials would do when backed against the wall; they’re punting to the voters. The commissioners, on December 14th, are expected to prepare for the November 2012 ballot, a proposal that will create a whole new way of funding and running the animal shelter – complete with its own taxing district so all stray, homeless or rescued animals will be well cared for while new homes are found for them.
The commissioners will propose a Lincoln County Animal Services District that will finally have enough budget to do right by our furry friends in their hours of need; to pay for the upkeep of the shelter, the labor, the food, the shots and some of the other medical costs associated with animal welfare. The new district also funds the Sheriff’s Animal Control Officers, who not only scoop up stray animals but also work closely with regular law enforcement in dealing with criminals who use fighting or otherwise vicious dogs to keep people away from their property or to resist the serving of search warrants during drug or other serious investigations.
On the ballot will be a question, posed to the voters, as to whether they support a tax override levy ( 10-cents or slightly less) aimed directly and solely for the caring of the animals at the Lincoln County Animal Shelter. It will be a totally discreet, separate fund. It cannot, by law, be used for ANYTHING else, according to County Counsel Wayne Belmont. The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners will be the district directors. However, to help guide them in their duties to ensure the proper management of the shelter, the commissioners will create an Animal Shelter and Services Advisory Committee. The committee will monitor the shelter and its operations and will suggest ways to fix problems or make improvements. The commissioners, acting as animal shelter directors, would consider and then act on those recommendations.
As for the advisory committee membership, commissioner Bill Hall says there will be five members; one representing Friends of the Lincoln County Animal Shelter, one representing the Human Society, one representing the Sheriff’s Office, and two at large, appointed by the county commissioners.
When the commissioners convene their meeting on December 14th, they’ll have more details on their animal shelter plan and what they would like to put on the November 2012 ballot. The commissioners meeting will be held at the county courthouse in Newport starting at 9:30am.