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BOC Addresses Water Issues, Funding For Humane Society
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Board of Commissioners

The Dawson County Board of Commissioners addressed items ranging from an issue of federal stormwater non-compliance to a request for permit for a rabies clinic in its meeting late Monday afternoon.

In an effort to bring the county into compliance with federal officials, a proposed ordinance was presented to the Dawson County Board of Commissioners late Monday afternoon. The Environmental Protection Agency previously designated Dawson County as a small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) and in a letter dated March 2014, stated that the county needed to come into compliance with federal regulations.

"Part of that is that we must develop an illicit discharge detection and elimination ordinance and protocols for enforcing that ordinance," Robbie Irvin said. Irvin, the Stormwater/Plan Review Manager gave his proposal to the Board in front of a small crowd late Thursday afternoon.

An illicit discharge is defined as "anything that goes into a storm drain or storm drain system that is not storm water," Irvin explained. Examples include detergents, oils, leaf litter and grass litter.

The proposed county-wide ordinance will include several elements including detection, elimination and enforcement of illicit discharge into and illegal connection to the county's separate storm sewer system.

Detections of such discharges would take place through inspections of facilities within the MS4 area that discharge into the storm drain system, including ditches and anywhere that the county has a conveyance system for moving storm water to a discharge point that then puts it into stream water or lake," Irvin said. Entities would also be required to notify the county of accidental spillage or discharges in addition to complains an observations from citizens.

Elimination of these discharges is "hard to eliminate from source. We have to get them cleaned up and we have them do preventative maintenance to prevent it from happening again. If necessary we can suspend them from access to the county's conveyance system". The enforcement would be handled by the Office of Storm Water Management through inspection and enforcement. Citations, if necessary, would be issued by the Dawson County Marshal's Office. Previously such sanctions were handled by the EPA.

Three proposed changes in the agreement between the Board of Commissioners and the Dawson County Humane Society were discussed. Presented by Director of Administration David McKee, the changes would include the idea of an annual renewal between the parties, a reduction of money paid to the Humane Society based upon animal population at the shelter. Human Society representatives Carolyn Bowen (president), Ed Holton, DMV (vice president) and Andrea McKenzie (treasurer) addressed the commissioners and fielded questions.

The reduction in monies paid to the shelter is "an attempt to negate some per animal cost that has more than doubled in the last two or three years," David McKee director of Administration said.

"We don't agree with the 10% decrease for several reasons'" Humane society vice president Ed Holton, DVM said. "What we would ask for is that we leave the budget at $126,000. We realize that it's below what we need. Our budget hasn't changed a whole lot. We're doing more with less, to be honest."

"Two-thirds of our budget comes from the public support that we get outside of our animal control contract," Human Society treasurer Andrea McKenzie added.

"You need to push the citizens a lot more for donations," Chairman Mike Berg replied.

The issue of euthanizing terminally ill, elderly and un-adoptable animals as a means to lower costs was addressed by Commissioner James Swafford who asked the Humane Society representatives "are we running an animal control facility as far as the county's concerned or are we running a nursing home for old dogs?"

"We provide a service to you and we do a good service. We always take your animals and you pay us a fee for it. We're doing what we can, what we feel is best for the animals and for the citizens. We have people who want us to be a no-kill," Carolyn Bowen responded.

Senior Center Executive Director Dawn Pruett presented information regarding ratification of the FY 2016 DOT 5311 Transit Grant application in which the county would fund 50% and the remaining half is through the state and federal funds for transportation for the seniors.

Rachel Burton presented an application for parade and assembly on behalf of the 4-H Rabies clinic. This is the third year the event will be taking place and is scheduled for Saturday, April 25 at the Government Center parking lot.

County Attorney Joey Homans updated the commissioners regarding legal issues. There was discussion of amendments to the rules and regulations in the Dawson County Board of Commissioners Employee Handbook to comply with federal and state regulations including smoking cessation in and around government property and paid time off to vote. Homans was "looking for approval to move forward with public hearings about changes."

County manager's report included two grant-funded summer interns (park and recreation and fire department) and mention that county performing storm debris clean-up three or four days a week

County attorney's report included verdict in Wilson/Gravvit tax appeal case (jury found in favor of the Board of Tax Accessors), response to the subpeona in water litigation and August hearing date for Comfort Inn litigation.

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