The county animal shelter’s lack of funds was one of the items presented to the Van Buren County Quorum Court at its regular meeting last Thursday night, June 21. A coming need for Sheriff’s department fuel expenses was also presented.
Lori Treat, with the SNYP Animal Shelter, presented to the council that she had been using personal funds to keep the shelter in operation, $19,000 to date, and “I’m not going to put another dime into it,” she said.
The shelter had been funded jointly by the county and the city of Clinton, and arrangement which ended in 2016 when the court and Clinton city council voted to end funding and turn the shelter over to a private not-for-profit. Treat, whose SNYP Arkansas program for animal spaying and neutering was already in operation, arranged to take over the shelter at that time.
Treat told the court that the expectations for funding had not been met.
“We are looking very close at having to lock the doors,” Treat said.
She told the council that the initial expectation for 20 families in the area to each donate $20 per month to help fund the shelter had not been met. Additional expenses, such as the air conditioner breaking, has led to additional pressure on the shelter’s budget, which she had been meeting with her own money, Treat said.
The shelter requires $2,000 a month to maintain operations, Treat said.
The Van Buren County Sheriff’s department’s presentation also indicated a forthcoming need for funding.
Department Chief Deputy Max Young first presented to the council department activity through the month of May - typical at a Quorum Court meeting. Young continued that the activity presented showed a significant increase in domestic cases, 320 more this year than the same time in 2017, as well as increases in other types of arrests. This was due, Young said, to a variety of factors, including that the department was now up to 10 patrol officers, compared to eight previously.
Because of the increase in arrests coupled with the increase in officers the department’s fuel costs were rising. Young told the council that while he did not see a need for any action to be taken at the Thursday meeting, action would need to be taken in the future due to fuel expense outpacing what was allocated for the department in its 2018 budget.
In 2017, Young told the court, the fuel budget was $80,000, and had been rolled back to $65,000 for the 2018 budget. Through May the department had already spent $43,000 on fuel, Young told the court. Based on that trend more money would be needed for fuel “soon,” he said.
“[Officers are] using so much fuel because they’re working,” Young said.
In other Quorum Court matters:The jail is at capacity, with 65 inmates in custody in the 52 bed facility, justices were told.Grants had been approved in order to update the electrical system at the courthouse.The council passed the resolution for a loan in order to upgrade the county 911 system.The county has hauled 46,500 tons of gravel to date for road maintenance.