On Sept. 17, the Jourdanton City Council approved an interlocal agreement for animal control services with the Atascosa County Animal Control Authority. Atascosa County Peace Officer, Lt. Henry Dominguez, Director of Operations said they were looking to enter into a contract with the City of Jourdanton for animal control services. The interlocal agreement was finalized at the Oct. 8 Commissioner’s Court meeting.
He explained the way it works is that the City of Jourdanton would pick up animals within the city limits and bring them to the county facility for final disposition. Final disposition means owner return, adoption or the last resort of euthanasia.
“We are going to have an adoption program. We are going to try to reach out to as many rescue groups as we can,” Dominguez said.
They have partnered with rescue groups to offer shelter to shelter transfer, where they take the animal out alive and then that rescue group is responsible for the animal, transferring the animal from the county shelter to another.
“We are going to try and rehabilitate and take out as many live animals as we can. Unfortunately, some animals will come in damaged from disease and we are not going to be a no-kill.”
He said that unfortunately, in certain circumstances, especially when it comes to vicious animals, the county facility will have to use euthanasia.
Any animals that are deemed sick or diseased with parvo or kennel cough cannot be brought into the county facility, as they would infect the healthy animals. If they come in sick or injured (for example, someone ran over the animal), those will be euthanized. However, Dominguez explained if a rescue group wants to take such animals, they can do a shelter to shelter transfer, as the county facility plans to be realistic with tax payers.
The contract was reviewed by the city attorney and county attorney.
One thing Dominguez wanted to clarify was the fee schedule. He said they were keeping it simple. Whatever services are required at the time of intake is what will be charged to the city. The fee is $85 to euthanize, while a dog that is adoptable is $25.
“We charge for whatever services are required upon entry, depending on what they bring in. We don’t want to compete with the vets. If you have an injured pet, you are required to take it to the vet. The charge is for the city only, not to the citizens.”
He explained to council that being a new organization, they were going to try and work out all the bugs that come with any brand new operation that has just opened.
Council member Chester Gonzales asked about traps. Would the city purchase them or would the county have some to use?
Dominguez said as a county facility, their primary duty is to the county citizens. Dominguez said they would like for the city to provide the trap services to the citizens, and provide whatever equipment is necessary for its own citizens, as a city function, not as a county function.
“We will primarily be out in the county, that is why we would require your personnel to capture the animals and bring them to us,” Dominguez said.
So for example if you live in the city and want to catch a cat, you still need to call city hall.
Council member Raul Morales asked Dominguez, “You were the one that spear-headed this project, weren’t you?”
Dominguez responded, “Well, sir. No, not quite. Judge Hurley and Sheriff Soward hired me to start this project. It was originally proposed years ago and it is something the County Commissioners, Judge and the Sheriff had long wanted to do. Unfortunately, given finances, they weren’t able to do it. I was fortunate enough to be able to be hired on as project manager when this first started and so I was given the task to go ahead and make sure this project got going and was finished and thank God we’re finally there.”
He was excited about the grand opening (held Sept. 21) and invited everyone.
“It is specifically for animal welfare. We took everything into consideration, from temperature control to sound control, everything. We are very proud of it,” Dominguez said.
Morales thanked Dominguez for including some of his students, when he was an administrator at the Juvenile Justice Center into the ground-breaking ceremony, which brought them a sense of pride.
Dominguez said they are going to continue that, by implementing other programs to include some in the community- the 4-H groups, local Boy Scouts, probationers, etc. They want it to be not just county-run, but community run, which is what they wanted to do when it was designed.
Council voted to approve the request for proposal for solid waste collection, disposal and recycling services.
Schulz explained, “Basically we are using the packet that the city attorney provided us. We went through it and made changes that made it fit better to our community versus the other previous community, so that it stipulated things that we thought were important here. We are asking for a proposal that will give an option for recycling on there, somewhat akin to the way they are doing it in Pleasanton right now,” said City Manager Lamar Schulz.
The City Attorney Daniel Santee has had the opportunity to review the changes.
As far as the dates for the bulky pick-up, the city is adding a date. The city is looking to have it in March, July, November– three times, versus two.
“And we’d have to keep our bins over where public works is, and I am working with them to try to change the way that set up is, to where we can put it where people can drive in and be able to dump during normal work hours.
Council member Karen Pesek asked if that would be any day of the week, where the citizens could go and dump a couch or something like that.
Schulz said, “I’d like to get it to where it is more accessible to the public. That tends to give people another option to get rid of it, versus it sitting there behind their house.”
Council member Gonzales thanked Schulz because they had discussed a third pick-up.
This proposal is going out to all the waste management companies, of what they expect. The deadline is Oct. 23 for turning it in. It will be brought back to council in November.
Council approved publishing a job opening for a code enforcementadministrative assistant, as Veronica Magana had accepted another job offer. Council thanked her for all she had done and wished her good luck.
Council approved the official ballot for the Texas Municipal League Intergovernmental Risk Pool Board of Trustees Election.
Council approved the Consent Agenda: minutes from the previous meetings of Aug. 9, Aug. 14, Aug. 18, Aug. 20, Aug. 22, Aug. 28 and Sept. 4, as well as the monthly bills.
During Citizen’s Comments, Patricia J. Elizabeth Tymrak-Daughtrey spoke on the roof repairs that she read about in the city manager’s report.
“I want to make sure that we don’t pay a nickel on that because it better be under warranty and this contractor and architect that we have, this sweetheart deal with that was so darn cozy, that USDA refused us the loan on, because it was too cozy,”
She said it is pathetic to need such roof repairs on a brand new building, considering it cost over $6 million.
Tymrak-Daughtrey said she was interested in the HOT (Hotel Occupancy Tax) monies, asking where the money went.
“I am proud to say to everybody in this room that Mr. Schulz knows something about municipal law, because the budget is certainly better than it ever was. And I noticed your amendments were in between the departments, line items that the law requires that never occurred, they just move money around wherever they wanted to and I’m sure you’ve seen that and I feel totally vindicated by your budget.”
Regarding individual salaries, she said one needs to be able to find out exactly what they are. She was also proud of Schulz for supporting the boot program for veterans.
She was interested in exactly how much money was made off the Sports Complex.
“There was over a million dollars and now according to the bank accounts attached to the budget that’s supposed to be by law. There’s only $141,125 left in there,” said Tymrak-Daughtrey.
The timer indicating a person’s time to speak is up then went off, followed by a discussion between Tymrak-Daughtrey and Schulz.
“Now, you are saying that you are going to take $215,000 out of the general fund and put $215,641 we have to pay back to the hotel monies, right?” asked Tymrak-Daughtrey. She asked if they were paying the debt service, to which Schulz responded it is not debt service. He said they were paying for the interest .
However, later in the meeting, during the public hearing on the budget, Schulz said he wanted to clarify something. He said he misspoke earlier when Tymrak-Daughtrey was asking about the $215,000 bill.
Schulz, “That is actually not interest. That is legal fees that involve this year and the year before. It has been coming out of the HOT funds, when the HOT funds were trying to be able to sustain that portion. Hopefully, that case will be solved before too long or maybe that will go away, but we can’t count on that. We have to budget and plan for it and HOT funds will not sustain that portion.”
Tymrak-Daughtrey said, “Was $215,641 for the litigation spent out of HOT monies, legally spent out of the HOT money?”
“Absolutely,” answered Schulz.
She then asked how many payments have been made on the interest for debt.
“That, I couldn’t tell you exactly because I haven’t been here during that entire period of time, but you made actually one payment on the principal and one interest payment each year. So, for how many years since it’s been since construction, you made those two payments each year, but that’s payments on the bond issue itself. This money is dealing with the lawyers that are handling the case back here.”
She asked Schulz if he had read the bond issue and Schulz said he had not.
“Where it says the payments will be spent out of ad valorem taxes,” asked Tymrak-Daughtrey.
“I have not been through all of that,” Schulz said.
“I am just bringing it to your attention because I was on the board through the city council and I read it and I believe those monies were not to be spent that way and I was led to believe that…,” Tymrak- Daughtrey said.
Mayor Williams said they needed to move on and get to the budget.