County wants community input on domestic animal tax
Dec 15, 2015 at 11:37 AM
The Wilson County Commission met Monday where they deferred a resolution regarding whether to stop collecting a $2 Domestic Animal Tax.
The $2 Domestic Animal Tax was implemented in 1980 by county voters and is a major source of revenue for locally based organization New Leash on Life.
The 1980 referendum passed was for the organization’s use in “animal control,” but at the time the county didn’t operate an animal control department until 2003.
The proposed resolution will be considered in tandem with another resolution that would levy a $5 domestic animal fee due when pet owners obtain vaccinations for their animals.
Of that fee, 5 percent would go to the county clerk’s office for processing costs and the remainder would go to an operating fund for the county’s animal control department.
Before voting began Monday, Commissioner Wendell Marlowe asked that the commission pull the aforementioned resolution off the agenda and defer until the next meeting.
Marlowe said they would hold a meeting for community input in order to get more information and feelings from the people on the resolution.
“It would affect us pretty heartily,” said Amy Haverstick, executive director of New Leash on Life. “It would mean a loss of about $35,000 [per year], which is a pretty hefty chunk of our budget.”
She said the revenue lost would equate to two full-time kennel staff positions. There are currently four full-time and one part-time kennel staffers.
“We fight to keep the doors open every month; we’re in a deficit every month,” said Haverstick.
She said no one from the county notified her organization of the planned changes, which she learned about in the newspaper.
“It’s hard to understand not even being consulted on this or notified on this when it affects our budget like it does and when it’s plainly stated in the act that the money goes to us,” said Haverstick.
The community meeting is scheduled for Nov. 5 at 6 p.m. at the Wilson County Courthouse and the public is encouraged to come to voice their concerns on the Domestic Animal Tax.