In a somewhat surprising move, the Greensburg City Council tabled a vote on the proposed creation of a Greensburg Police Department Monday night during their regular meeting.
The council and City Administrator Ed Truelove first discussed, at length, the requirements and challenges of a city operated animal kennel.
During a work session last week, Truelove recommended transporting stray house pets to Dodge City for the three “hold” days required by law. This would eliminate the need for the city to operate its own facility.
On Monday Truelove told the council that the Dodge City facility would not keep the animals for the three days, but would only assist in the disposal of animals.
Truelove explained his plan to hire an “on-call” animal control officer and provide city owned facilities.
The city would either retrofit the old animal housing facility on the outskirts of town, or possibly construct a new facility closer to the city center. Truelove mentioned the public works facility as a possible new site.
The city would charge pet owners a daily fee, although the exact amount wasn’t discussed, and pass the $37 disposal fee onto pet owners.
The animal control officer was one part of a three-employee team proposed by Truelove, who also expressed a desire to hire a police officer and code enforcement officer.
Truelove has proposed an annual budget of $87,000 for a full-time police officer. That amount includes an annual payment of $15,000 to the Kiowa County Sheriff’s Department to handle dispatch that would be waived in 2013.
“Well, we need to make some step,” said Councilman Mark Trummel, who chaired the meeting in place of Mayor Bob Dixson.
Councilman Matt Christenson wondered why they had passed numerous ordinances if they were unwilling to hire someone to enforce them.
“We should commit to enforcement,” he said and also referenced the council’s preliminary approval of 2013 law enforcement funding.
Council members had already tentatively approved a 2013 budget for a police department during preliminary budget discussions in July.
At a work session last Monday there seemed to be overwhelming support of the plan.
Councilman Rex Butler was outspoken in his opposition.
“This is really creating new bureaucracy," he said. "We don't have the money."
Truelove was asked to provide additional information to the council, namely specific job descriptions and responsibilities for each position. The council is expected to revisit the issue at a future date.