Animal Care, Municipal Code Compliance receive funds
Two City departments, Animal Care and Protective Services and Municipal Code Compliance, received budget boosts Thursday that should help with staffing and service levels for the upcoming fiscal year.
The City Council Finance Committee restored almost $246,000 to Animal Care and $393,000 to Municipal Code, both part of the City Neighborhoods Department.
The cuts were part of Mayor Alvin Brown's proposed budget, which the committee is reviewing and amending during August sessions.
For Animal Care, the funds keep two filled animal code enforcement positions on staff ($68,066); continues to allow for the intake of all over-the-counter animals and owner surrenders while keeping a veterinarian technician and part-time hours ($63,233); funds an animal care service manager, which will be split into two control officer positions ($72,581); and keeps a clerical support position ($41,941).
Finance member Robin Lumb said he took a tour of the animal care facilities and that they seemed to be "lean." He said not restoring the funding would be inconsistent with the move toward a no-kill shelter philosophy, which could jeopardize private funding.
Supporters for the animal services have been vocal leading to the budget review and cheered after the vote.
Council President Bill Gulliford took to the microphone to tell the group that while they showed excitement and happiness for the decision, the Council faces difficult decisions when it reviews quality-of-life issues and there could be a tax consequence they should explain to the friends and neighbors.
For Municipal Code and Compliance, the committee restored about $393,000 in funding, of which about $200,000 went toward nuisance abatement enforcement and $50,000 for demolition and site clearance.
The remaining restorations funded eliminated compliance officer positions of varying ranks.
Some of the restorations were offset by reducing vacant positions to a $1 line item, down from more than $5,000 placeholders.
With the cuts as presented, several Council members showed concern about the work of the division being accomplished.
"We know that work is not getting done, period," said Finance member Reggie Brown. "We need to get the job done."
In other action from Thursday's all-day session, the budgets of the independent authorities were approved and the City Office of Economic Development and Downtown Investment Authority reviews were rescheduled to Wednesday.