County adds to animal control staff hours
Feb 05, 2013 (The Sun - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A surge in demand for animal control services has led Yuma County to reallocate about $13,000 to add hours to a part-time animal control officer.
The Yuma County Board of Supervisors approved the funding shift Monday, allowing the county to now have three full-time and one part-time officers responding to calls of abused, neglected, injured and stray animals in unincorporated parts of the county. The money to add 20 hours to one of the part-timers comes from the county's health administration budget, and for now is only for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends June 30.
Public Health Services District director Diana Gomez said she anticipates having the revenue to permanently fund the position full-time starting next year, allowing it to be reflected from the start of the budget process as a regular full-time position.
County administrator Robert Pickels added that he thinks the county can keep the position full-time next year, but he did not want to be "presumptuous."
The county started doing animal control enforcement in-house this fiscal year with two part-time officers, a full-time officer and a full-time director, who also spends time in the field. The new animal control division ended up busier than expected, however. The Humane Society of Yuma formerly did the field work for Yuma County and other area municipalities, but has recently stopped doing animal control functions.
The Humane Society continues to kennel animals brought in by city and county officers, although that, too, could change with the possibility of a county-run kennel, built new at an estimated cost of about $1.5 million, that would operate in cooperation with the area's cities. Pickels will meet with the Yuma City Council Tuesday to discuss the proposal.
In other meeting action Monday:
--The supervisors approved the sale of surplus property to two local charities.
Saddles of Joy, which provides therapeutic horseback riding, will receive a 1994 Ford 150 truck currently owned by the Yuma County General Services Department, while Catholic Community Services will get three desktop computers and a laptop from the Yuma County Information Technology Services Department. The charities will get the items for the nominal price of $1.
The county regularly clears out surplus property from office equipment and furniture to computers and ride-on lawn mowers, providing it to nonprofit groups, auctioning it off to the public or disposing of it if there are no takers.
--The Arizona Department of Public Safety is set to be a tenant inside the county's recently constructed multipurpose facility in Wellton.
The county has drawn up a 20-year lease agreement with DPS to allow the state police office space in the east county facility, which also houses Wellton Justice Court and an office for the Yuma County Sheriff's Office. DPS previously used a trailer at the Wellton site for its east county satellite office.
The lease will run about $320 per month, or about $3,800 per year, for the 247-square-foot office. Rent, which is subject to annual increases, includes phone and fax lines, parking, utilities and janitorial services.
--The county's election services and recorder's offices will conduct town elections on behalf of Wellton, starting with its primary in March. The partnership lasts through 2017.
--The YCSO is clear to add several pickup trucks to its patrol fleet. The supervisors approved the transfer of $250,000 from the jail district budget to buy eight new Ford F150 SuperCrew 4x4 short-bed pickups and specially outfit them for police use. The trucks will be purchased from Chapman Ford out of Phoenix.
Hillary Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6857. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSHillaryDavis or on Twitter at @YSHillaryDavis.
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