Mayor Gene Zick had presented a budget proposal last week that included eliminating donations to six organizations which would save the city $17,273 in the 2010-2011 budget. Other organizations cut in the proposal include the Russellville Arts Commission, Mayor’s Youth Council, Special Olympics, and St. Vincent DePaul.
Whipple argued that Good Sam did a lot for Russellville and did not receive any federal funding to operate. He said the Humane Society has already had to pull from its donations accounts to help aid in the day to day operations of the center and that that money is supposed to be used to save the animals.
Whipple also noted the city was giving more next fiscal year to the BRADD Aging services and thought some of that extra could go to these two other organizations.
Councilman Lanny McPherson told Whipple not to worry about Good Samaritan and that his church was going to be giving them more money. He also stated that it was dangerous not to set a precedent and “open the door” for others to expect funding.
“I understand where you are coming from Jack, Good Samaritan is one of the better organizations in the city. I will guarantee they will get their money. Our church is going to up its funding to the organization,” said McPherson without addressing the Humane Society.
Zick agreed with McPherson about “opening a door” to others.
“We can take another hard look at this but be careful not to open that door,” said Zick.
Zick said maybe the Humane Society needed to look at charging a licensing fee on all dogs and cats like the city of Bowling Green.
“Bowling Green charges $10 an animal which increases its funding and has better control over its animal population,” said Zick.
The implementation of a license program in the county would fall under the authority of the county and not the Humane Society however.
“That would be very difficult to enforce,” said Judge/Executive Logan Chick.
Mayor Zick has said at a previous meeting that the county is ultimately responsible for funding the animal shelter and said the county had “plenty” of money to do so whereas the city of Russellville was struggling to find money.
Selena Dosgupta addressed the council asking them to reconsider funding the Humane Society. She said she has started a petition (http://loganhs.epetitions.net/) for the council to reconsider its decision and was going to work diligently for the next week to get as many signatures as she can.
“I really think you need to continue to fund this organization with everything they do for the city. They are very detrimental and if we lost them what would that do for us,” said Dosgupta.
A first reading of the city’s 2010-2011 budget with the cuts in it was held Tuesday night with no further discussion. A second and final reading of the budget will be held Thursday, May 27 at 5 p.m. at city hall. A public hearing will be held at 4:45 p.m.