The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

February 8, 2014

City contracts with county on animals

The Commercial-News

---- — DANVILLE — Due to the emergency nature of the situation with animal control after the Danville Humane Society terminated its contract with the city, Mayor Scott Eisenhauer has administratively approved contracting services with Vermilion County.

The city will utilize the Vermilion County Animal Shelter on Catlin-Tilton road for its animal control officer enforcement and boarding of animals. Eisenhauer said they’ve agreed to a short-term measure while contract language is finalized between the city and county for the long-term.

In the short-term, the city will pay a daily fee only for the animals that the county confiscates through enforcement and any expenses associated with those animals.

An intergovernmental agreement will likely go to the city council’s Public Services Committee later this month for long-term services.

Revisions of the city’s ordinances also will be required.

In a memo to aldermen, Eisenhauer said “some will ask why we have not moved in this direction previously, and my answer is two-fold. First, there was some belief, at least by me, that by having newly elected, energized members of the Humane Society board, changes would be made, the shelter would move in a positive direction, and we would see vast improvements at the Humane Society. What I did not want to do is discourage that movement by canceling the city’s contract, leaving them with a significant financial shortfall, while they were working hard to improve the shelter’s standards. I felt it was best to give them every opportunity possible in light of the 60-plus years of service they have provided to the community.”

Eisenhauer’s second reason concerned the revolving leadership at the Vermilion County Animal Shelter during the last few years.

“The last thing I wanted to do was leave one volatile situation, only to enter another,” Eisenhauer said in the memo.

He said he’s known the county’s new executive director Paige Brown for a long time and has been impressed by her knowledge, administrative leadership, skill set and compassion. Eisenhauer said Brown is excited for the new challenge and will be a wonderful asset for animal regulatory control in the city.

“I am extremely pleased with the direction we are headed with this intergovernmental agreement, and finally feel as though the right people were in the right place at the appropriate time to make this happen,” Eisenhauer said.

Eisenhauer added the city will not pay any additional building operating costs because some city resident tax dollars already go into the facility. They will need to hire additional staff, and the city will help pay for that.

Also, if there is a need in the future for a building addition, the city likely would assist financially.

For stray dogs or other animal issues, contact the Vermilion County Animal Shelter at 431-2660.