PARKERSBURG - A new contract between the Wood County Commission and Humane Society of Parkersburg for animal control and shelter services has been finalized.
Maryann Hollis, executive director with the humane society, confirmed the society's board has approved the amended contract. County Administrator Marty Seufer said the finalized contract has been signed by both parties and filed at the county.
As part of the new agreement, the commission will purchase a truck for the humane society.
Photo by Pamela Brust
Wood County Administrator Marty Seufer, foreground, reported to commissioners this week the humane society’s truck can be purchased off the state bid contract at less than the $27,000 limit set by the commission in the new contract.
Earlier this week, commissioners approved the purchase of the truck off the state bid contract for a price of $25,531. The commissioners had set a $27,000 limit on the purchase price for the truck as part of the new agreement.
During the Aug. 20 commission meeting, Wood County Prosecutor Jason Wharton reviewed a final proposed amendment to the contract language.
"The additional language has already been agreed to by the humane society's attorney," Wharton told the commissioners.
"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.
"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 at that meeting.
Under terms of the new proposal, the society will be paid 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 concerns.
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 to the county. 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 ultimately agreed to by the commission and society, 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.
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 HSOP. 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 local human society.
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, but ultimately agreed on a new two-year contract with the society.