Animal control
By Bob Balgemann
BELVIDERE – A two-year-long campaign to provide a new building for the Boone County Animal Services Department is nearing an end.
Construction of the 3,300-square-foot facility on the north side of Squaw Prairie Road, between Maple Crest nursing home and Heritage Woods assisted living complex, has begun. It is expected to be finished by the end of August or early September.
Footings were poured the week of March 21, with underground plumbing work now being completed. Walls of the building should be going up soon.
The over $1 project recently received a boost when resident Al Johnson donated $10,000 for erection of a chain link fence around the building.
Animal Services Department Supervisor Roger Tresemer said staff was thrilled by such generosity. Johnson’s name likely will be inscribed on a plaque that is located somewhere along the fence line, he said.
Actually, donations are an important part of that department’s operation. Names of donors are read during most monthly meetings of the health and human services committee, as well as on occasion at county board meetings.
Animal Control (2)“We’re one of a few areas in government that get donations,” Tresemer said. “They really help the critters that come in here and need special care, everything from dental to medical. Donations do not go for salaries or utility bills.”
Actually, the department doesn’t get any tax money. Its annual budget is funded by the various fees it collects.
In a related action the county board voted 12-0 to approve using some of the dog tag fee increase to defray the higher-than-expected cost of the new building.
Voters on Nov. 4, 2014, approved a bond sale of $800,000 for construction of the animal services building. However, that cost subsequently increased to over $1 million because of design changes and alternate construction items.
So, the board agreed to use the money generated by the $5 increase in the cost of dog tags to repay the general fund, which is financing the $251,781.93 difference. The tag increase was approved Oct. 16, 2013, and brings in about $35,000 a year.
Approval did not come without discussion.
Resident Robert Christianson has regularly attended committee and board meetings since thoughts of a new building first began. He said the board action was like writing a blank check, which was something he didn’t like.
“I don’t want this to be spent on other things,” he said.
However, board member Karl Johnson said the tag money would be going into the Animal Services Building Repayment Fund, to ensure it isn’t spent for any other purpose.

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