King County Council agrees to extend animal services contract with cities

The Metropolitan King County Council on Monday agreed to continue the collaborative regional animal services program that spreads the cost of animal control, sheltering and licensing between the county for unincorporated areas and 25 suburban cities, including Kent.

  • BY Wire Service
  • Tuesday, July 10, 2012 3:57pm
  • News

The Metropolitan King County Council on Monday agreed to continue the collaborative regional animal services program that spreads the cost of animal control, sheltering and licensing between the county for unincorporated areas and 25 suburban cities, including Kent.

The council unanimously adopted an ordinance authorizing the county executive to enter into an inter-local agreement that provides field officers, shelter services and licensing services.

“This model partnership between the county and municipalities will bring consistent, cost-effective and compassionate solutions to our animal control challenges,” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague, the prime sponsor of the ordinance.

“By beginning to establish a greater correlation between cost and use of services, this inter-local agreement is a step forward in encouraging local jurisdictions to increase their rates of licensing their animals,” said Councilwoman Julia Patterson. “This will continue King County’s progress in protecting people and animals.”

“The continuation of this partnership between King County and the cities shows the strength of regional cooperation,” said Councilman Bob Ferguson, chair of the Council’s Government Accountability, Oversight and Financial Performance Committee. “Providing animal control and shelter services is an important government function, and it makes sense for the county and the cities to work together.”

In 2010, the council approved the creation of a regional animal services program, the culmination of three years of work by the council and the county executive to reform the county’s animal services system. The agreement defined services, euthanasia rates, expenditures, cost allocation methodologies, with the cities agreeing to pay a greater share of the cost of the services they received from the county. The restructured Regional Animal Services of King County has made significant improvements in services, including reducing euthanasia rates below 15 percent.

The legislation adopted by the council allows the county executive to enter into inter-local agreements (ILAs) with cities in King County for animal control services (officers in the field responding to events), shelter services and pet licensing services. Cities may also choose to pay for Enhanced Control Services. The term of the new ILA is three years, with services beginning Jan. 1, 2013, and an option to renew for two additional years.

The ILA has a new formula for cost allocation that uses population (20 percent) and usage (80 percent). The county funds three types of subsidies for certain cities using specified criteria, in order to mitigate impacts of the adopted cost allocation model. Cities must pass animal codes and fees similar to King County’s while cities retain independent enforcement authority.

In 2010, 27 cities participated in the animal services partnership. As of May 21 of this year, 25 cities have sent the county two non-binding letters of commitment indicating their willingness to participate in the new ILA.

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