- By Dan Veaner
Farkas says a 'benevolent benefactor' has contributed to the SPCA so they can continue to offer the service at a price the towns and villages can live with, giving the municipalities a year to decide what they want to do. Many looked for alternatives, but with the exception of Groton, none were able to find individuals or businesses that could or would take on the dog control role. Some elected officials felt their municipalities were being held up, because fees were to be doubled with no detailed explanation.
The problem has been discussed at most of the Town Board meetings this year with no acceptable alternative presenting itself. "It's a big problem, Farkas says. "On one side the SPCA does a very good job. We sat down with the Council of Governments (made of representatives of each of the Tompkins County municipalities) for a long time trying to find alternatives to the SPCA."
"When the SPCA originally proposed this to us, they just automatically doubled their fees," says Deputy Supervisor Bud Shattuck. "They didn't open up their books and say, 'This is why.' They didn't give us a delineated cost breakdown, and I think it was because it was hard for them to separate out all of the good things that they do with the things that are mandated for the town. We just asked to pay the amount that is the true cost of the services they provide for us."
While the price rise is still steep, it is a lot more palatable to Town officials, who see it as a reprieve to allow them time to solve the problem more satisfactorily. "This will give us a whole year to get with the SPCA and figure out how to do the contract for the next year," Shattuck says. "So I think this is a really good development."