The price for relying on the county to handle Banning’s animal control services grows steadily steeper.
In a Feb. 4 letter to the city, the county’s Department of Animal Services explained that as of March 1 of this year, the county was increasing how muchBanning will expect to pay this year.
According to the city, the price tag would rise from $14,000 per month to $27,000, and the county continues to retain fees from animal licensing, impounding fees and penalties, and other fines related to animal control services.
The cost, City Manager Doug Schulze reported to the city council at its Sept. 8 meeting, exceeds $350,000 annually.
His staff proposed an annual budget for the hiring of a couple of in-house animal control officers, acquisition of a used animal control vehicle, and some supplies that would amount to roughly $259,000.
Schulze explained that 35 percent of costs for human resources are employee benefits, and that salary ranges for cities the size of Banning range from $38,500 to $52,100.
Schulze and Councilman Kyle Pingree, who has been overseeing the volunteer-driven renovation of the city’s long-dormant animal shelter, reviewed price ranges for a used animal control vehicle, and seem satisfied that $25,000 was an appropriate budget.
Computer equipment, training, uniforms, office supplies and animal control equipment were outlined in Schulze’s proposed budget.
Overtime costs for animal control officers was not included.
“We’ve had a group of volunteers renovating our shelter” under the leadership of Pingree, praised Councilman Art Welch. “We couldn’t have done this without those volunteers” who have spent countless hours on hot weekends to clean up the site on Charles Street, behind the city’s wastewater treatement facility, and make it hospitable for visitors.
The city has already waived permit fees associated with the shelter’s renovations.
Volunteer efforts will help save the city from spending upwards of $700,000 to pay for contractors or city staff to refurbish the facility, which closed in 2010 after weather-related flooding forced its evacuation.
The city anticipates saving up to $100,000 annually, factoring in revenues from licensing fees and fines, by creating its own department to handle animal control services.
City Council voted 5-0 to authorize Schulze to create an Animal Control Division.
Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org , or by calling (951) 849-4586, x114.