Humane Society to provide county services

Loujane Johns
The Yates County Humane Society's Shelter of Hope.

The Yates County Legislature authorized Sheriff Ron Spike to sign an agreement with the Yates County Humane Society for animal services at its Aug. 11 meeting. 

Legislator Deb Flood voted against the agreement.

In a phone interview Spike said he has spent a lot of time considering the options for animal control.   “For 34 years the Laflers provided a one stop location.  Henry would investigate, pick up the animal, provide the shelter, euthanasia and burial in a cemetery on his site.  Those days are gone. It was an unique and exclusive situation,” he explained.

Spike said the job was considered part time work,  but it requires unusual hours.

Some days are only two hours, others are over eight.  Spike said the interim animal control officer assisted the department with a call at 11 p.m. last week.

Spike said all the details have not been worked out, but they are very close to being finalized.  “I am being very budget conscious, while meeting the need to provide services,”  he said.

The agreement will pay $225 a month to lease a YCHS site for a public dog pound.  He said the pens will be moved from Lafler’s to the site. Right now, the Laflers are being paid for space for the dog pound until these new arrangements are complete.

The animal control officer will have a satellite base with an office.  This space will be rented from the YCHS. 

The animal control officer position will be a full time non-union job with a salary of $31,000 for 2008 for a 35 hour week. 

The position of part-time account clerk typist was eliminated by the legislature in the 2009 budget. This position was previously held by Mary Jane Lafler at a budget amount of $7,709.  Spike said the record keeping will now be a part of the animal control officer’s duties.

The county will also pay the YCHS $1,000 a month for around the clock care of the animals. Spike says the cost of food is still being worked out. 

“I think the concept is right and the relationship with the YCHS is a good concept.  The legislature and I still have some concerns about such things as insurance and financial issues, and regulations and policies,” Spike says. 

A positive aspect, Spike pointed out, is that the YCHS will have the right to take an unclaimed dog they deem adoptable for placement.  This would mean fewer dogs will be euthanized.

A call made to Don Cass, executive director at the YCHS was not returned by press time.

Other business brought before the legislature included:

• TAX EXEMPTIONS:  A public hearing was set for the next Legislative meeting on Sept. 8 to discuss a local law to increase tax exemptions for persons 65 years of age or over and to increase alternative veterans exemption from real property taxation.  These two exemptions have not been adjusted since the early 1990’s.

• BRIDGE:  A bid was awarded to Slate Hill Constructors for a full deck replacement on Penn Yan’s Main Street bridge over the Keuka Lake Outlet for $690,655.  The state will pay $600,000 and the additional funding has been requested from the Federal Highway Administration. County Administrator Sarah Purdy said the work will begin very soon.

• AIRPORT: Chairman Bob Multer was authorized to execute a Federal Aviation Grant for engineering design for runway 1-19 grooving and airport pavement crack repair at the Penn Yan-Yates County Airport. The total cost of the project is $39,500, of which the county will pay 2.5 percent, or $988. 

An agreement to retain Passero Associates as consultants for a security improvement project at $18,700 was also approved.

• BUILDING PROJECT:  A budget fund appropriation of $7,000 will be used for masonry work atthe Yates County Office Building.

• PENN YAN MARINE:  Multer was authorized to sign an agreement with LaBella Associates, P.C. for more remedial investigation work at the Penn Yan Marine Manufacturing site at a $62,500 fee.  The work is required by the NYS DEC.

• WINDOW CLEANING:  The low bid of Canandaigua Window Cleaning of $3,300 was approved with Legislator Deb Flood voting against.

• MORTGAGE TAX:  No one commented during a public hearing for a local law establishing additional tax for mortages on real property was held. The law was a renewal of a local law passed in January 2005.