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Three-city animal control agreement pending

GRANDVIEW - Mayor Norm Childress last night informed Grandview City Council members that recent meetings with city leaders from Grandview, Sunnyside and Prosser have been positive.

One result of those meetings has been a draft agreement in regards to animal control issues the three cities face.

Childress told council members animal control is an area of need experienced by all three cities that could feasibly be met in the immediate future. Because of budget constraints, none of the three cities can afford to offer animal control services on their own at the present time.

He said the three municipalities would like to reach an agreement regarding animal control by the end of February and the logistics are still being discussed.

The city leaders all agreed the chiefs of police from each municipality would be best suited for making the final agreements, but Childress wanted input from City Council as to whether or not the draft agreement looked like a positive plan.

"I wanted to know if we're headed in the right direction," said Childress.

City Councilwoman Pam Horner expressed concern over the costs associated with contracting an animal control officer through Central Washington Humane Society, the organization the three municipalities are looking at for animal control services.

"I want to know where we are at in terms of funding," she said, noting the cost associated with the contract amount to $19,680 per year for Grandview for 2-day per week service.

Childress said he believes some savings will be garnered by the city through cooperation with Sunnyside and Prosser, but not all areas of discussion have yet been settled.

To assure the city council members, he said, "There will basically be a 'bailout' if it's (the final agreement) is not working."

Childress stressed the need for animal control services, citing citizen concerns that have been voiced to him and each of the council members. He said citizen safety is necessary.

Councilman Mike Bren was also concerned regarding the cost associated with services provided by Central Washington Humane Society. It was explained the city of Grandview and the city of Sunnyside would each utilize the services two days per week and Prosser would use the services one day per week, costing the three municipalities a total of $49,200 annually.

Childress said there are still issues to discuss. One such issue is the shared use of an animal control vehicle, which might cut costs.

"There is a lot to be considered," he said, stating the agreement would not be entered into until all parties are comfortable with the terms.

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