JRHS asks for levy from city to pay billsThe James River Humane Society seeks a 1/2-mill tax levy to support its operation and is asking for votes in the upcoming election. The measure would cost about $2.25 per year on a property valued at $100,000, according to the city of Jamestown. If passed, it would generate about $13,500 each year to support the shelter’s general operating expenses, said Skip Olson, JRHS president.
The James River Humane Society seeks a 1/2-mill tax levy to support its operation and is asking for votes in the upcoming election.
The measure would cost about $2.25 per year on a property valued at $100,000, according to the city of Jamestown. If passed, it would generate about $13,500 each year to support the shelter’s general operating expenses, said Skip Olson, JRHS president.
The election is June 8. Early voting begins May 24.
Currently, the JRHS receives $1,500 from the city. That money goes towards its annual budget of about $85,000. The rest of the funds come from private donors and fundraisers the shelter holds twice a month, Olson said.
The shelter has one part-time employee and about 24 volunteers.
A similar ballot measure was extended to Stutsman County voters in the 1980s. Records no longer exist for that election, county officials said. Olson had said that measure failed by less than 1 percent.
The JRHS serves the city and surrounding area because it takes in animals that otherwise would likely be euthanized, Olson said. Not only does that save pets’ lives, but it also saves taxpayer money.
The James River Humane Society takes in about 150 animals per year and usually runs at capacity: 24 cats and 12 dogs. About 90 percent of the animals at the shelter come from the city pound. To euthanize an animal costs an individual about $35, said Duane Brophy, JRHS janitor. Keeping animals at the shelter means the city doesn’t have to pay that cost, he said.
And unless the animal is sick or dangerous, the shelter does not euthanize.
“A lot more would be euthanized if the Humane Society wasn’t here,” said Becky Johnson, animal control officer for the Jamestown Police Department.
Johnson said she supports the measure because the humane society is dedicated to the best interest of the animals.
But aside from sheltering dogs and cats, JRHS also serves another purpose: students at the Anne Carlsen Center, patients from the North Dakota State Hospital as well as other organizations visit the shelter regularly to pet and play with the animals, she said.
“For anyone who has ever owned an animal, they know how therapeutic they are,” Olson said.
Although capacity at the shelter will not expand, the shelter itself will. The group is raising funds to construct a new building adjacent to the current one. The new building would give the animals space to play and run during the winter months when it’s too cold and snowy to let them outside, Olson said.
If passed, the money would remain in Jamestown, Olson said. None of it goes to outside expenses as the shelter is not a member of the National Humane Society.
“The money that we get from Jamestown stays right here at exit 262,” she said.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org