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June 2012
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McCracken merges animal control, shelter

BY LAUREN P. DUNCAN lduncan@paducahsun.com

The county's animal services have a new name: the McCracken County Animal Control and Sheltering.

The McCracken Fiscal Court voted Monday night to merge the McCracken County Animal Shelter and county animal control under the new title and place shelter director Ryan Brown in charge.

Judge-Executive Van Newberry said little change will come of the reorganization except Brown leading both services. The court also voted to increase Brown's salary to $40,000.

Brown was hired as the shelter director in May at a salary of $35,000 per year.

County leaders agreed in June to move forward with looking at forming a partnership with the McCracken County Humane Society to meet county animal sheltering needs. The decision followed a recommendation by a task force that studied the possibility of constructing a new county shelter or working with the Humane Society.

County leaders have yet to reach an agreement with the Humane Society. Newberry said Monday that county leaders may meet with Humane Society leaders next week.

Also concerning animal services, the Fiscal Court approved a court order to extend a veterinary services agreement with the county shelter until June 2015. Newberry could not confirm if the agreement would interfere with Humane Society negotiations.

Also Monday, the court discussed the future of 911 services. The Paducah-McCracken E911 Emergency Communications Services Board recently received a proposal from Kentucky State Police Post 1 to provide dispatch services. Due to a decline in landline phones and tax revenues, the county and city face increased costs to update and retain the local services.

KSP proposed it would cost $800,000 a year from McCracken County and Paducah to contract with KSP. The E911 services now cost $1.6 million a year.

"For the state police to say that we can do it for half, that's something we need to look at," Newberry said.

Commissioner Jerry Beyer, who is on the E911 board, recommended the county and city host a public hearing and workshop in August to discuss the possibility of contracting with KSP.

"I think it behooves us to bring the public into this," he said. "I for one do not want to see these jobs leave the county, but we owe it to the taxpayers to take a look at it."

KSP said it would need to add 10 positions to its Post 1 dispatch center, which serves Lyon and Graves counties. The Paducah-McCracken Center employs 18 dispatchers.

Also Monday, the court recognized three Paducah youths, Ellie, Max and Stevie Collins, for putting together a fundraiser for the county animal shelter. The three hosted a lemonade stand, where they raised $126 for the shelter.

Contact Lauren Duncan, Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8692 or follow @laurenpduncan on Twitter.

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