Commission, society agree on truck terms

PARKERSBURG – Wood County commissioners approved a final change in the language proposed for a contract with the Humane Society of Parkersburg.

The contract for animal control and shelter services will now to go the humane society board for approval.

During Monday’s commission meeting, Wood County Prosecutor Jason Wharton reviewed the proposed amendment to the contract language with commissioners.

“The additional language has already been agreed to by the humane society’s attorney,” Wharton said. “Under the proposal, if the humane society terminates the agreement early, they will owe the county a portion of the truck payments, due within 24 days of the contract termination. If the county terminates the contract or does not enter the second year of the contract, the humane society gets the truck free and clear,” the prosecutor said.

The county commission, by code, cannot financially obligate the county for more than one fiscal year at a time, so the agreement, which is through June 2015, will need to be renewed at the end of 2014.

“I like it,” commission President Wayne Dunn said of the agreement.

“We bought ourselves 24 months to look at options if we want to go down that path. It seems like every year it’s a problem,” Commissioner Blair Couch said.

“This agreement protects the county with regard to the truck and gives the humane society what they wanted. It’s a fair provision.” Wharton said.

Under terms of the new proposal, the society would receive the same rate of funding as the previous year, $271,344 for animal control and shelter services. The county also agreed to purchase a truck for the humane society, with the cost not to exceed $27,000. It was disposition of that truck in the event of early termination of the contract that earlier raised some questions.

The county had proposed if the contract was terminated prior to June 2015, the society was to return the truck and retitle it in the name of the county, free of any liens.

Humane society officials said the truck was a form of payment since it was proposed by the county to purchase the truck in the amount the society was denied this year in requested funding. They proposed, if the contract terminated early, the society should be reimbursed for the truck if it was retitled in the name of the commission. The society proposed if the contract was terminated prior to June 30, 2015, the HSOP would transfer the vehicle to the commission within 10 days and the commission would, within 24 hours, pay the society “the average Blue Book value of the vehicle as of the date of such transfer.”

Under the new proposal outlined originally last week and agreed to Monday by the commissioners, both parties would agree the purchase price of the truck will be divided into 24 equal amounts representing the 24 months the HSOP agreed to maintain the same rate to provide services to the county.

“In the event the HSOP is still providing services to the Wood County Commission on June 30, 2015, the Wood County Commission shall have no right to a refund of part of the purchase price of the truck purchased pursuant to this agreement,” Wharton said.

The proposed change states: “In the event that the HSOP terminates the contract prior to June 30, 2015, the HSOP will owe the Wood County Commission an amount equal to the number of months remaining until June 30, 2015, multiplied by the monthly truck value, said payment shall be made within 24 days of the termination of the contract by the SOP. In the event the Wood County Commission terminates the contract prior to June 30, 2015, or elects not to exercise its option to extend the contract as is for the second contract year, the HSOP retains all right and title to said truck free and clear.”

The county is required by code to provide animal control services for dogs and has traditionally provided those services through a contract with the Humane Society of Parkersburg. The commissioners earlier refused to fund a requested 10 percent funding increase, which would have been an additional $27,135, for the new contract beginning July 1. The county’s current contract is for $271,344. The humane society then informed the commissioners it planned to cut three humane officer positions, effectively taking it out of the animal control business. County officials began exploring other options, including visiting neighboring counties shelter facilities and looking into liability and costs of operating a county-run animal shelter.

After a series of options were discussed, the humane society and county agreed on the two-year agreement at the same rate of pay with the county purchasing the truck for the society.