Local Humane Society petitions for half mill taxA petition drive to put a half mill tax levy to support the James River Humane Society on the Jamestown ballot in June is about halfway to its goal of 1,200 signatures, according to Skip Olson, president of the society.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
A petition drive to put a half mill tax levy to support the James River Humane Society on the Jamestown ballot in June is about halfway to its goal of 1,200 signatures, according to Skip Olson, president of the society.
“The minimum number of signatures is 1,058,” she said. “But we’d like to have 1,200 to make sure there aren’t any problems.”
Olson said the group intends to turn the petitions in to the city by March 1 so the City Council could take action to put the measure on the ballot during its March meeting. If all those things fall into place the issue would be on the city ballot during the June 8 primary election.
Under North Dakota law the option of a tax mill levy to support a humane society operation is only available to “no-kill” shelters. Olson is not aware of any shelter in North Dakota that has the tax levy.
“It costs us about $90,000 a year to operate,” she said. “We get $1,500 per year from the city, we get a lot of donations from business and we write a lot of grant requests. The money we take in from adoptions usually goes to our vet bill which is about $2,000 per month. Beyond that, every single month we have at least two fundraisers.”
Jeff Fuchs, city administrator, estimates the levy will generate $13,500 to $14,000 per year, if it is passed. The tax would amount to $2.25 per year on a property valued at $100,000.
While Olson said the tax levy will lower the stress on the fundraising efforts, and part of the additional income would be used for a new building.
“We’re working on a building fund to provide more space for exercise for the dogs,” she said. “We go four or five months per year where we can’t let the dogs out for any length of time.”
The new building would provide indoor runs to allow dogs some time outside the smaller spaces within the current shelter. It would not enlarge the current capacity of 12 dogs and 24 cats at the shelter.
“The new building would be especially beneficial for short-coated dogs in the winter,” said Dr. Barb Looysen, veterinarian at Country Acres Vet Clinic. “That makes the dog happier and then it makes them healthier.”
Looysen also recognized the work the James River Humane Society does.
“It is certainly a good cause,” she said. “The city relies heavily on them.”
Volunteers from the Humane Society will be circulating petitions at various events including a bake sale at the Buffalo Mall on Saturday. Only voters of Jamestown can sign the petition.
Fuchs said the Humane Society is the only organization currently circulating petitions for any measure to be placed on the city ballot in June.
A similar ballot measure went to Stutsman County voters during the 1980s. Noel Johnson, Stutsman County chief operating officer, said records no longer exist for that election. Olson said it failed by less than 1 percent.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at (701) 952-8452 or by e-mail at email@example.com