Wednesday, Oct 01, 2014
News

County to talk traps, holes

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BROOKSVILLE -

Postponed twice, county commissioners Tuesday will again bring up the issue of loaning cat traps to residents.

Staff has asked the board to discontinue the program, designed for humanely capturing neighborhood felines.

But whenever it has been brought up, the issue proved divisive with proponents and critics lining up on either side. Commissioners decided they needed more time to discuss it and so have carved out a bigger block on their Tuesday agenda.

The department loans out traps to citizens to capture stray and feral cats, which are then brought to Hernando County Animal Services for impoundment. Most are euthanized at taxpayers’ expense.

But the problem is that sometimes feral cats and citizens’ outdoor cats are caught in those traps.

Staffers said impounding the cats drains resources, time, and money from the facility and the county.

The HCAS said it also is a cause of decreased morale and compassion fatigue for the staff tasked with euthanizing unadoptable feral cats every day.

In January 2013, the live outcome rate for cats at HCAS was 39 percent: 47 cats were euthanized, of which 43 were feral. If those 43 feral cats had not been impounded and euthanized, the department’s live release rate for cats would have been 71 percent.

The cat trap issue will be discussed during Tuesday’s meeting, which begins at 9 a.m. at the Hernando County Government Center, 20 North Main St. in downtown Brooksville.

Also Tuesday:

The property appraiser’s office will update the board on sinkhole claim activity. Staffers have said sinkholes are a drain on the local economy and the outlook for 2013 remains grim, said Kevin Johnston, valuation services supervisor with the Hernando County Property Appraiser’s Office.

Sinkhole-labeled homes continue to affect property values and, even when repaired, it brings the value up to only about 90 percent of its original value, Johnston said.

Still, there is some good news: From Jan. 1 through April 19, of this year, there have been 590 sinkhole claims reported to the property appraiser’s office. That compares to 852 the same period last year.

Also delayed from the last meeting is an update on recent economic development and airport issues.

Commission Chairman Dave Russell told Hernando Today recently he wanted answers as to allegations of oil leaks in the ground located by a building on airport grounds.

That caused the county to spend money on an environmental report, which showed there was no substantial soil contamination.


mbates@hernandotoday.com

(352) 544-5290

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