Council Approves Increase in Animal Control Fee Request by County Board

By Jeremy Coumbes on October 25, 2023 at 2:35pm

The rate for supporting the Morgan County Animal Shelter has gone up.

The Jacksonville City City Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve a new agreement with Morgan County that increases funding for the animal control program.

Morgan County Commissioner Chair Ginny Fanning says every city, village, and county are assessed a population-based fee to help cover the cost of the animal shelter.

The new agreement with the city raises that fee from $2.50 to $3.00 per person. Fanning says the increase just came down to expenses continuing to go up and the county needing to keep the animal control program solvent.

It’s been several years since we had raised it and as we all know costs have gone up. Dog food, fuel, salaries, etc. So the maintenance of it has just been more than what this assessment per person was able to cover. So we felt we needed to add more to that revenue stream.”

Passage of the new agreement by the council didn’t come without some continuing discussion, however. The resolution was pulled from the council’s consent agenda during the October 9th meeting after Alderman Kent Hannant expressed concerns the fee sounded like a double tax.

Mayor Andy Ezard says after more information was gathered on the program, the resolution was passed unanimously at this week’s meeting. “Yes, I believe they wanted some more information which City Clerk [Skip] Bradshaw gave to them from the county. I would anticipate a few aldermen reached out to the commissioners for further information. I feel that must have taken place and they felt fine about it, so they went and voted yes.”

Fanning says the Animal Control Program is a separate budgeted entity from other services and although the county receives revenue from adoption fees as well as for spaying and neutering services, however, the fees are not enough to cover the day-to-day Animal Control costs.