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Animal control receives most of its request

The Harrison County Council Monday night approved $9,000 for part-time help for the Harrison County Animal Control facility. Animal Control officer Bruce LaHue requested $12,000 to get the department through the end of the year.
Council Chairman Gary Davis suggested giving $9,000 to the facility and holding off on the other funding until a new advisory committee has met at least a couple of times and can make a feasible recommendation. The committee is being compiled by LaHue to study the best way to approach animal control in the county and how it can be improved.
The temporary advisory committee will include a commissioner representative, Carl (Buck) Mathes, and a council representative, Chris Timberlake. Other departments and agencies represented on the committee include the sheriff’s department, prosecutor’s office, health department, dispatch, Tanya Tuell (spay and neuter program), HEART, Friends of Harrison County Animal Control (Kate Rieger), veterinarian (Dr. Ron Smith) and LaHue.
The committee doesn’t need to ‘re-invent the wheel,’ LaHue said, but just look at what works in other areas of the country and apply it here.
Davis said he wants inmates from the Harrison County Jail to be a part of the solution the committee comes up with.
‘Meade County was able to do it,’ he said. ‘I don’t see why we can’t.’
LaHue said he’s not ruling it out but the inmates could prove to be more of a detriment than a help.
LaHue said the part-time help is needed so he isn’t tied to the office and can go on runs to pick up animals throughout the county. He said the facility took in more than 40 dogs Friday and another 23 on Monday.
LaHue said he and office manager Missy Graham would be reduced to working as kennel staff if the part-time help wasn’t approved.
The motion to approve $9,000 was passed with a 6-1 vote. Timberlake, who voted against, said he supported funding the entire $12,000 amount to last the rest of the year.
In other matters, the council debated for 90 minutes about the Horseshoe Southern Indiana Riverboat gaming revenue sharing with the county’s 10 incorporated towns.
Each year, the county receives a capped amount of revenue of just more than $23.2 million. Three percent of that, about $700,000, is dispersed to towns. From 2000 to 2005, the county split the money equally among the towns, but, in 2005, it decided to factor in town population as the means for splitting the funds.
The proposal decided upon in 2005 ‘ and the one that’s been used each year since (the county has met its $23.2 million cap each year) ‘ was that of former councilwoman Rhonda Rhoads. The four largest towns receive 70 percent of the funds split by population as follows: Corydon, 37 percent ($258,055); Palmyra, 13 percent ($90,668); Lanesville, 12 percent ($83,693); and Milltown (Harrison County side), 8 percent ($55,796).
As for the smaller towns, Elizabeth and Crandall receive 7 percent of the funds ($48,821); New Middletown and Mauckport get 5 percent ($34,872); and Laconia and New Amsterdam receive 3 percent each ($20,923).
On Monday night, Timberlake made the motion to keep the system as is.
‘I don’t think we need to do anything,’ he said. ‘It seems to be working.’
Timberlake said he would not vote for any scenario that cuts any of the towns’ funding.
Davis said the 2010 Census figures should factor into the sharing, and he thinks the council should have more of a set formula or method than the current distribution process.
Timberlake said the population change wasn’t enough to make a radical change in the formula.
Only three towns’ population went down since the 2000 Census: Milltown (Harrison County side), 9.5 percent (412 to 373); Lanesville, 8.1 percent (614 to 564); and Mauckport, 2.1 percent (83 to 81).
The other towns’ populations increased as follows: New Amsterdam, 2,600 percent (1 to 27); Laconia, 72.4 percent, (29 to 50); Palmyra, 46.9 percent (633 to 930) New Middletown, 20.8 percent (77 to 93); Elizabeth, 18.2 percent (137 to 162); Crandall, 16 percent, (131 to 152); and Corydon, 15 percent (2,715 to 3,122).
Councilman Richard Gerdon eventually seconded Timberlake’s motion, which failed 2 to 5.
Councilman Phil Smith made a motion to give all towns $27,500 to start with then have the rest divided by population. Councilman Gordon Pendleton seconded the motion, which also failed with a 2-5 vote. Smith and Davis voted for, while Pendleton voted against a motion he seconded.
Councilman Ralph Sherman made a motion to take $1,000 from each town except Palmyra and give the extra $9,000 to Palmyra, since its population increased and the town annexed extra land. Pendleton seconded the motion and Gerdon joined in favor, but it failed with a 3-4 vote.
Councilman Jim Heitkemper made the final motion of the night, repeating Sherman’s, but it failed 3-4 because Pendleton switched his vote to against the plan. Pendleton said a concrete formula or method is needed.
So, the issue, which has been discussed at each council meeting since June 14, was tabled again and will be brought back up at the council’s next meeting, which will be Monday, Aug. 8, at 7 p.m.
Also at the next meeting, the council will vote on a $5.8 million request for the Corydon west interchange project and a $25,000 request from the YMCA of Harrison County.

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