2010-06-26 / News

Trustees hear about dogs, cats, fiscal officer, trash pickup

By Scott Rawdon

HEBRON – Union Township resident Joan Settina, who has a non-profit animal rescue, updated the Union Township Trustees on the status of the Licking County Animal Shelter Monday night.

“People had concerns with the shelter for over a decade,” she said. A town meeting in Kirkersville in February drew more than 100 people to discuss the animal shelter and their concerns. In April, people protested in front of the shelter, opposing the use of a gas chamber during animal euthanasia. “We’ve been marching,” said Settina.

Shortly after the protest, Licking County Commissioners issued a statement that the shelter would favor lethal injection over the gas chamber, which would only be used for extremely aggressive animals. “The gas chamber’s supposed to be painless, but it’s not,” said Settina. She said the American Veterinary Association calls the gas chamber “inhumane.” “We’ve been very passionate about it,” she said.

June 10, Luzio announced his retirement effective Sept. 30, although county commissioners said that Luzio’s 37 years of service, not criticism of the shelter, fueled his decision to retire. Nonetheless, Settina said she believes “goals have been met” at the shelter and things are moving in a positive direction. “The commissioners are really listening,” she said, adding that she believes the shelter could use more volunteers.

Settina said 80 percent of cats are euthanized at the shelter and their bodies are sold to a research lab for $1.50 each. “It’s like cats don’t count,” she said.

In his retirement announcement, Luzio said, “My legacy has been public safety, currently having one of the lowest euthanasia rates in the state and a continued dedication to cat rescue.”

In other township news:

• Certified Professional Bookkeeper Bill McWilliams asked trustees how to reach fiscal officer Amanda Griffith. He said she’s been difficult to contact and asked if Griffith is accountable to anyone besides trustees.

“Yes, the public,” said Trustee President John Slater who explained that Griffith has been dealing with “health and personal issues” that interfere with her time management. “It’s reaching a point of great frustration on everyone’s part,” he said. Slater wouldn’t elaborate on “health and personal issues,” but assured McWilliams that he would help him stay in contact with Griffith.

Tuesday, Slater said McWilliams is helping the township conduct an in-house audit to account for cash receipts. “There’s too much money in there,” he said. Although Griffith has missed several trustees meetings this year, Slater said that as an elected official, she’s only required by law to attend one meeting per year. He said Griffith asked for assistance to catch up on her work, so the trustees contacted McWilliams. “We’re trying to help her along,” said Slater.

• Trustees said they’ve received some calls and emails since Big-O Refuse became the township’s exclusive residential trash hauler for the next three years. Slater said some residents weren’t aware of the change until they received a mailed notice and others wondered if they could opt to stay with their existing service. Slater said they couldn’t.

Trustee Jesse Ours said Waste Management hasn’t collected his trash in two weeks, since the Big-O contract was approved. “I think Waste Management is mad at me,” he said. All refuse companies serving Union Township customers are obligated to do so until July 1.

• Slater said trustees are working on a date to speak directly with Hebron council members about the stalled fire services contract for 2010. Trustees were unable to attend the meeting when council members unanimously rejected their counter proposal. Hebron made a counter offer, but Slater wants some face-to-face negotiations before making any decisions.

Trustees’ next regular meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Monday, July 5 at the township garage.

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