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Commissioners continue to review proposed budget
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Dawson County Board of Commissioners Work Session Agenda
4 p.m. Oct. 22 in the Dawson County Government Center Assembly Room

New business
1. Presentation of FY 2016 K9 Grant Application: Major Greg Rowan
2. Presentation of 2016 Dawson County Holiday and Payroll Calendar: Human Resources Director Danielle Yarbrough
3. Presentation of 2016 Dawson County Board of Commissioners Meeting Calendar: County Clerk Danielle Yarbrough
4. Presentation of Bid #256-15 RFP HVAC Maintenance & Repair: Purchasing Director Davida Simpson
5. Presentation of Bid #258-15 IFB Emergency Services Uniforms: Emergency Services Director Billy Thurmond
6. Board appointment: Wendi Bock - Dawson County Library Board - replacing Nancy Disharoon (Term: October 2015 to June 2016)
7. County manager report
8. County attorney report

• Anyone wishing to speak at the voting session on any of these items must notify the county clerk five days in advance of the scheduled meeting.

• Anyone wishing to speak on a non-agenda item must notify the county clerk within 10 minutes of the start of the voting session.



Commissioners last week said they need more time to consider the county's proposed 2016 spending plan.

The board was set to vote on the $22 million budget Oct. 15, but agreed to hold off until Nov. 5 to review updates, changes and clarifications made to the proposal since the initial presentation in September.

Costs associated with the humane society once again came up in discussions on Thursday.

The proposed budget for 2016 includes an allocation of $120,000 for the organization, which houses and cares for the county's homeless animal population.

The amount is $12,000 less than the amount shelter officials asked to receive for the coming year.

Commission Chairman Mike Berg addressed the issue, saying the county in reality is paying much more than the $120,000 annually for animals that are picked up and taken to the shelter.

The number of animals taken to the shelter has dropped significantly since 2008 when the county shelter entered into a contract for the service and 1,309 animals were picked up, according to Berg.

"This last year in 2014, it was 422 animals. Our estimate for the end of 2015 with a couple of months to go is 367 animals," he said. "So at this point in 2015, if it ends up with 367 animals, we're paying $343.32 an animal.

That cost would be in addition to $100,000 allocated for animal control.

"If you approve the budget for 2016 out of $126,000 instead of $120,000, and we collect the same amount of animals as we do this year," Berg told commissioners, "we're going to be paying almost $327 an animal, not including the $100,000 we're paying to have animal control. If we include animal control, we're paying $600 an animal.

"I think there is some justification to drop that $6,000 from $126,000 to $120,000."

Citizens had the opportunity to make comments on the proposed $22 million budget, which is up nearly $430,000 in 2015.

Dawson County Humane Society President Carolyn Bowen expressed her disappointment in Berg's proposal to cut the organization's funding by $6,000 when they "had requested an increase" of the same amount.

"Just as all other provider costs have risen, our costs have risen also," she said Oct. 8. "We respectfully request that you reconsider this drastic funding cut, since it places more of the financial burden of housing and caring for Dawson County's stray animals on the volunteers and supporters of the humane society."

Berg cited the humane society's recently opened thrift store that has collected nearly $70,000 in revenue, saying the county's position on funding organizations would be the expectation that the group would continue its own fundraising efforts.

"The more you can get, the less the taxpayers have to pay into that," he said, adding that other non-profits were seeing reductions in the budget.

While commissioners can make changes to the proposal, any additions or deletions likely would be zero-based since they voted in July to keep the millage the same at 8.138 mills.