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County rethinks dispatch and animal services

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By Robin Bass

Could Spencer County Fiscal Court get in the business of catching dogs and answering 9-1-1 calls? In all likelihood, the answer to that question is no, but that is not stopping magistrates from looking into taking over the two contracted county services.

Magistrates approved two separate motions Monday morning that will form committees to explore the feasibility of managing emergency dispatch and animal control services. Currently, the county maintains annual contracts for these services through private contractors.

Magistrate Bill Drury said that he made the motions to review the two contracts because of a responsibility the county has to be accountable to taxpayers.

“We need to continually look at our departments in the county to see how efficently they are working. We need to review these things periodically. It’s just good business practice,” said Drury.

Drury said that this is not the first time fiscal court has examined dispatch and animal services in an attempt to see if another avenue would work better for the community.

Spencer County’s dispatch services are contracted through Marlene Cranmer for just over $122,500/year. Her contract is set to expire June 30 of this year. Cranmer has asked the county for a cost of living adjustment beginning July 1, but any increase will now have to be approved in the county’s budget later this month.

Spencer County Judge Executive David Jenkins said if the county took over the emergency radio service, the cost to taxpayers could double. As county employees, dispatch workers would be eligible for health care, retirement and other benefits.

The City of Taylorsville also stands to be affected by any decision made since they pay the county roughly $2,400 per month for use of dispatch services.

Animal control services are contracted through the Kentucky Humane Society and cost the county a base rate of $76,550/year plus a fuel surcharge. That rate has an annual increase of 3 percent that occurs each August, which will raise the base cost to $78,800. The county’s contract with the Humane Society is set to expire at the end of July 2011.

Magistrates voted that no changes would be made to these services during the next fiscal year after approving both contracts Monday.

Serving on the committee to research the county taking over dispatch services will be Magistrates John Riley and Hobert Judd. Magistrates David Henry and David Goodlett will be looking into the animal control services. Both committees are expected to report their findings to fiscal court by October 15. At that time, the committees will provide a recommendation for action.

In other fiscal court action:

• Magistrates approved 19 of the county’s 21 contractual services for the next fiscal year, with the exception of the nuisance mowing service provided by H&A Lawn Care and the garbage franchise service provided by Rumpke. Fiscal court plans to re-bid the lawn service with maintains abandoned lots in the county. The garbage franchise service contract is being delayed until a recommendation could be provided by the solid waste committee.

• Magistrates approved bidding various materials for use by the county during the next fiscal year. The list includes diesel, gasoline, stone, freight, liquid emulsions, bituminous base and bituminous surface, culvert material and propane fuel for county-owned buildings. Sealed bids for materials are currently being accepted. Deadline for submission is 4 p.m. May 29.

• Fiscal court approved a motion to renew their insurance premium with KACo for $148,274.

• Fiscal court approved a motion to accept Cresent Ridge Drive, located in the Peterson Place subdivision, into the county road system while holding the road bond at 50 percent.

The next fiscal court meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, May 20 at 9 a.m.