Warren County government continues its preparation for the 2021-22 fiscal year budget.
Round three of the county Budget and Finance Committee was a 2-hour, 45-minute session that ended with tentative approval for adding a second full-time employee to the county’s payroll at Warren County Animal Control and Adoption Center.
Animal Control director Sherri Bradley requested she be allowed to increase a part-time employee to full time, from 29 hours a week to 40, within the proposed budget for 2021-22.
“I have three part-time people and a full time,” said Bradley, who presented a list of numbers for July 2020 through February 2021 to justify the requested change. “I would like to increase the hours of one part-time person. That would give me two full-time and two part-time employees.”
Numbers for that seven-month timeframe: animals in 353, animals out 355, phone calls 2,292, road calls 153, walk-ins 225, Facebook messages 364, and emails 420.
There were other proposed increases to cover operational expenses. One of those was an additional $5,000 for veterinary services, from $15,000 in fiscal year 2020-21 to $20,000 proposed for 2021-22.
After crunching the numbers, Commissioner Scott Rubley said the total increase request from last year is $19,300 to the budget with only $2,100 of that going toward salaries.
Commissioner Christy Ross voiced approval for the additional 572 employee hours per year, “I know you’ve done a lot of wonderful things out there, Mrs. Bradley, and for a long time people dropped a lot on you and there wasn’t a lot being adopted out. With the changes out there, business has picked up in both areas for you. I think you need this.”
The request had its detractors.
“It’s nothing against you, Mrs. Bradley,” said Commissioner Tommy Savage. “The Juvenile Services officer was just here. We’d get hit hard if we do more for animals than we would for juveniles. I don’t know what the answer is.”
Youth Services director Barry Dishman requested a $2,400 salary increase for a youth services officer, from $40,000 to $42,400 a year.
“We can’t keep people,” Dishman said. “I met with this committee two years ago. We are paying our people $15.25 an hour with a college degree. Good luck keeping them. We are one of the best training agencies anywhere around. I’ve got some really successful people who’ve worked for us over the course of the last 10 years. They’ve gotten their master’s degrees and have done exceptionally well. They’re now somewhere else.”
Committee members kicked off budget discussions two weeks ago by unanimously pre-approving the removal of all salary increase requests as proposed budgets are reviewed. Those will be considered at the end of the budget-setting process.
Commissioner Scott Rubley pointed out Animal Control would get a lot of work for a small budget increase. “I guess we need to keep in mind that the full-time employee is only going to add $2,100 to the budget and provide 571 man hours,” said Rubley.
Budget and Finance Committee members gave unanimous tentative approval for the proposed budget at this stage in the process. They also reviewed and approved 15 other proposed departmental budgets during this session. Minimal changes were made to those.