- Michael D. Pitman Staff Writer
Fairfield will continue to police animal complaints after City Council rejected a proposed contract with the Butler County’s Sheriff’s Office and Butler County Commissioners.
Council voted 4-2 against a proposed contract that would have eliminated the city’s overhead to operate an animal control officer out of the Fairfield Police Department.
The proposed one-year contract would have charged the city $60,000 for the sheriff’s office to dedicate an animal control officer to the city. The city spends about $83,000 a year in salary, benefits and equipment for animal control, which only 7 percent of residents use, according to the city.
Those numbers, said Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones, have prompted many in the Fairfield community to reach out to him — and they are “angry” about that decision, he said.
“I gave them an opportunity to save about $30,000 a year, and in 10 years that’s over quarter of a million (dollars). And four of the council members chose to go ahead and spend that money,” Jones said. “I guess saving $30,000 (a year) didn’t mean much.”
Councilman Tim Abbott, who voted in support of the contract, said the “business decision” would have saved the city at least $25,000, if not more, a year.
“It was going to be a one-year contract, performance-driven,” he said. “We were going to pay for what we were going to get and what we wanted. If you look at the numbers … 93 percent of the households don’t use animal control on an annual basis. When you put all that together it becomes a quality of life issue, and you have to make either a business decision or an emotional decision.”
There are between 1,600 to 1,700 animal control-related calls a year in Fairfield.
Councilman Mike Snyder, who voted against the contract, said keeping animal control in-house maintains the current quality of life in Fairfield.
“It really doesn’t bring anything to the community to pay someone outside the community to do a service which has been successful within the community,” said Snyder. “I feel that something that’s already in place and working well, we should maintain our local control.”
However, Jones said in July and reiterated to this news outlet this week he would have brought Fairfield’s animal control officer, Aaron Adkins, on board to remain the city’s animal control officer.