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George and Jenny See of Imbler hold a pair of kittens, potential candidates to help fill the void of the recent loss of their pet cat of 17 years. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)
McClure: ‘We are working now to resolve it’
An agreement between Union County and the Blue Mountain Humane Association remains unresolved.
At the beginning of the month, the La Grande City Council voted to move 2012 funding for the association’s shelter back into the city’s general fund because the humane association and county had not come to an agreement.
County Commissioner Steve McClure said a new agreement has still not been reached.
“There’s an agreement in place, but what we need to do is make some adjustments to reflect what’s going on,” McClure said.
The commissioner said the current agreement contains a clause that requires BMHA to disclose accounting numbers for dog licensing. While the county appreciates that BMHA operates as a nonprofit, McClure said, they want to know how those public dollars are used.
“We haven’t been able to get that accounting for a couple years,” McClure said.
The City of La Grande had set aside $9,500 last fiscal year for the shelter contingent that they reach a new agreement with the county.
“We’ve been working with the city to meet with (BMHA),” McClure said, adding that three meetings had been canceled. “We’re now having our attorney review the agreement.”
He said following the attorney’s conclusions, they will likely send a notice to BMHA requesting a meeting, where they can hopefully come to an understanding.
“We need to just work out those details,” McClure said.
If those details are worked out, La Grande City Manager Robert Strope said earlier this month that funds could be again set aside for the shelter if they request funds and if the City Council approves it.
BMHA Shelter Director John Brinlee declined comment for this story but said earlier this month that the county is asking for more from the shelter in a new agreement than they have in the past.
“We’re a separate entity,” Brinlee said of the humane association, which is a 501c3. “We’re not going to sign over to the county. They haven’t paid anything and we’re rendering services.”
BMHA’s shelter has continued to accept animals picked up by Union County Animal Control despite not having a new agreement in place.
“We intend to start resolving that [this] week,” McClure said.