(SALEM) - Washington County is probably going to have to pay more to the City of Salem for use of the animal shelter on Joseph Street in Salem.
Marcia Walker of the Salem Tribune reports that is the assessment of Commissioner John Mishler, who discussed the issue with members of the county council during the council's June 4 meeting. The council met June 4; the topic was also discussed during the commissioners' meeting on June 5.
The county pays the city $20,000 but Mishler said he had received a letter from the city indicating the majority of animals at the shelter come from the county and the county needs to be picking up more of the tab.
But county officials also believe there are management issues that need to be resolved. Mishler suggested one group, an umbrella representing the entities that are involved with shelter operations, be formed.
"There are two entities trying to run it, there's a lot of confusion on management," Mishler said. "The city has their rules how dogs need to be kept and we have our rules. I think it's a little chaotic at times."
Mishler, who represented the commissioners at the county council meeting, told council members that any way the issue is approached, the county is probably going to have to pay more.
"At some time, I'd like to see it under one umbrella . . . we're not paying our fair share of what it costs to run that place,"
The city has made some changes, Mishler reported, including holding dogs for a longer period of time and working harder to find animals homes. But that sometimes leads to backlogs of animals.
Councilman David Hoar also acknowledged problems with the number of players, which leads to "butting heads," and also called for restructuring or reorganizing management.
Councilman Merwyn Fisher questioned the importance of the shelter to the county. Hoar pointed out that the county health department needs a place to quarantine dogs involved in bite cases.
During the county commissioners' meeting, Commissioner Dave Brown brought up the subject. He mentioned a spread sheet of expenses related to run- ning the shelter, prepared by Attorney Drew Wright, attorney for the city. The city operates the shelter on a $80,000 budget but Brown noted there are expenses beyond the basic operating budget, such as the costs of providing workman's compensation insurance for employees, building maintenance and administrative expenses. Neither the county council nor commissioners came up with a course of action, but Brown indicated the concerns of county officials would be relayed to the city.
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