The Pioneer Humane Society wants Umatilla County voters to support a taxing district for animal control.
Ben DeCarlow of Hermiston, Pioneer Humane Society board treasurer, made the pitch Wednesday morning to the Umatilla County Board of Commissioners. He said a special taxing district with a rate of 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed value would generate around $500,000 for the organization to cover the cost of services.
Pioneer Humane Society operates the no-kill Pendleton Animal Welfare Shelter, which took in 860 dogs and 1,430 cats in 2015 and 2016. DeCarlow said the society also operates programs to provide pet food for lower income pet owners and transportation for pets that need to be spayed or neutered.
He also told the board the nationwide animal control model is for counties to support humane societies. Without the steady stream of tax revenue, he said Pioneer Humane Society “would not be headed in a positive direction.”
Marjorie Iburg, former Pendleton city councilor and former PAWS board member, told commissioners the population of unwanted animals “could be overwhelming” for the county if not for the Pioneer Humane Society. She said that a taxing district would include Hermiston, and the animal shelter there would receive tax revenue, possibly through a contract with Pioneer Humane Society.
Commissioners Bill Elfering and George Murdock voted to allow the group to proceed and seek the approval of local city councils. The commissioners noted that was how the Oregon State University Extension Service District had to get a resolution on the May 2018 ballot to consider forming a new taxing district.
On that note, the board held the first of two public meetings on the Extension Service District.
Dan Dorran of Hermiston, former Umatilla County Fair Board member, was among the handful of people who spoke in favor of the extension service district, along with local wheat producer Greg Goad. No one spoke against.
The board of commissioners approved a county-wide boundary for the extension district and set the second public hearing on the matter for Jan. 3.