Sheriff seeks bigger town contributions for animal control
ALBION – Orleans County Sheriff Randy Bower wants to add a second full-time animal control officer. Kathy Smith, the lone full-timer, handles the job with some part-time help.
“I don’t know how one person can do it,” Bower told town and county officials during a recent meeting of the Association of Municipalities.
The county currently spends about $77,000 for animal control, with the 10 towns contributing $30,000. Animal control is technically a town responsibility, according to the State Department of Agriculture & Markets.
County officials don’t want an increase in county tax dollars going to a service that, by state law, should be run by the towns.
Bower is proposing the towns triple their current contributions towards the service to $90,000 combined to allow for additional animal control officer. Ridgeway and Albion currently pay the most among the 10 towns, about $5,000 each.
Bower said a second full-time officer would ensure weekend coverage and improved service. The county handles the bulk of the animal control calls. The Village of Medina had an animal control officer, but bowed out of the service earlier this year when Police Chief Jose Avila retired. He tended to many of the animal control calls.
The Village of Albion also keeps a part-time animal control officer with Harry Papponetti to bolster the service in Albion.
The county is limited in the tax cap and doesn’t want to use that small cushion for a service that is a town responsibility, said Chuck Nesbitt, the county’s chief administrative officer.
Without an increase in money from the towns, Nesbitt said the county may have to scale back animal control if it’s a tight budget year.
The towns and county are all working on their budgets for 2017. Those spending plans are typically approved in November or early December.