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Sangamon County Animal Control Fees Increasing for Cities

Updated: Thursday, June 26 2014, 11:19 AM CDT

SANGAMON COUNTY -- Cities and towns will soon need to pay more to house stray animals in the Sangamon County Animal Control Center.

The daily boarding fee is nearly tripling from $20 to $59.

In 2012, the county spent almost one million dollars on animal control services, but only brought in about 800 thousand dollars in revenue.

In order to close that gap, the county administrator says the boarding cost for dogs and cats has to go up, but that's one more expense small towns will need to squeeze into tight budgets.

When stray cats and dogs are picked up on the streets of Auburn, they're taken to the Sangamon County animal control center.

"The county has been providing services for all the villages and cities for over about ten years now. So, it's a consolidated effort. Everyone kind of came together and thought this would be the best way to provide services. They contract with us to do that," said Sangamon County Administrator, Brian McFadden.

Right now, the cities pay a daily boarding fee of $20 for each cat or dog they send to animal control. After looking at a cost study of animal control services Mcfadden says it's time for a new fee structure.

"That showed that there was a shortfall between what we're charging villages and the city of Springfield for the service. And between that and the actual cost of the service," McFadden said.

Sangamon county leaders agreed to increase the fee to $59.

Auburn Mayor, Barb Stamer, says the city's budget is already tight, and it will be tough to pay such a significant increase, but the town's Police Chief, Bruce Centko, says he's confident the city will be able to make room in its budget by 2015, when the new cost goes into effect.

"I think to a certain degree we can control our own destiny by being more aggressive in finding irresponsible pet owners and only taking animals to animal control in the least resort like vicious or owners that we can't identify or injured animals," said Chief Centko.

The state requires shelters to keep an animal from being euthanized for three days if the owner is unknown and seven days if the owner is known. McFadden says the Sangamon County Animal Control Center strives to be as close to a no-kill shelter as possible, which means additional costs, but says those costs are not covered by the cities.

"The county will continue to carry that subsidy because it's essentially our policy to keep those animals for as long as possible," McFadden said.

McFadden says cities can choose to take of its own animal services if they're not happy with the fee structure.

Chief Centko tells us it is still most cost-effective for the city of Auburn to stick with the county's animal control services. Centko says many times a litter of puppies or kittens is sent to the county's animal control center, which means the city is required to pay the boarding fee for each animal, rather than just once.

Sangamon County Animal Control Fees Increasing for Cities

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