A year ago, the county threatened to increase Banning’s fees for animal control services.
Practically a year and a few days from that fateful notice, Banning approved its official warning that it is ending its agreement with the county effective June 30.
Banning’s community quickly banded to support the city’s decision to relaunch its own animal services division, and volunteers spent hours and weekends cleaning up the previously shuttered animal shelter off Charles Street.
Renovation and cleanup efforts were led by Councilman Kyle Pingree.
The city agreed to waive permit fees for the project to help it along.
Local businesses donated services and equipment.
Banning previously leaned on Beaumont for its animal services after closing down the animal shelter in 2010 due to flooding.
When Beaumont indicated it no longer had the desire to take on Banning’s animals in addition to its own, Banning approached the county and arranged for services, which began in July 2018.
That agreement mutually allowed for service renewals through June 2023.
Last year Riverside County Department of Animal Control Services sent a letter to the city informing Banning that it was raising its charges nearly 100 percent to over $13,000 a month, or $360,000 a year.
That did not include fees that the county would still reap in addition for impounding animals.
Banning determined that it could refurbish its dormant shelter and budget $257,400 — including one-time startup costs for acquiring a used vehicle, office furnishings, and animal control equipment.
Last September the city council unanimously approved creating an Animal Control Division.
The city’s budget does not include animal shelter services, which it says will be provided by an unspecified nonprofit organization “with shelter operation experience.”
The city believes that the shelter’s restoration is nearly complete.
The city is currently recruiting animal control officers and anticipates interviews to begin in late spring, and is confident that July 1 will be a reasonable transition date for its nonprofit operator to take over animal control and shelter services.
The authorization to have City Manager Doug Schulze notify the county was part of the city’s routine consent agenda, and was not discussed during the Feb. 9 meeting.
Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at email@example.com , and messages may be left at (951) 849-4856 x114.