Shared animal control services between Hollister and San Benito County just got easier thanks to recent action by the Hollister City Council on Sept. 4.
The city approved the Hollister Police Department Animal Care Services Bureau to enter into a contract agreement with the county to provide services until June 30, 2021.
When their three-year contract ended in June 2016, these shared services were provided on a month-to-month basis after several extensions, City Clerk Christine Black said.
Police Captain Carlos Reynoso said the changes in the contract terms are minor. One of them is the option to cancel the contract at any time, instead of being required to give 60 days notice.
The new three-year contract will automatically renew for two successive one-year terms, unless it is terminated early.
San Benito County will pay 55 percent of the overall operating costs of the Animal Care and Services Bureau with the exception of capital costs, Santa Cruz Regional 911 charges and radio infrastructure radio contract costs.
Capital costs include the purchase of new equipment or any additions to the animal shelter facility, while the Santa Cruz Regional 911 charges are any communication with dispatchers from any agency including the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office, Hollister Fire Department, or county Public Works Department.
Reynoso said San Benito County pays the majority of the costs because the latest study shows officers spend between 45 and 90 minutes responding to calls outside the city boundaries compared to 15 minutes responding to calls within Hollister. If officers have to drive to Paicines to conduct a wellness check on a horse, Reynoso explained, it can take them three hours to return.
However, the contract limits the county costs to $50,000. For any charges that exceed the limit, the city must give a notice and provide justification. This, Reynoso said, was in case unforeseen events occur, forcing animals to be evacuated for a prolonged time.
That was the case when the Animal Control Bureau withdrew horses from the Lovers Lane neighborhood following the Pacheco Creek floods in January 2017. Animal Control relocated horses to Bolado Park, where some stayed several months without being claimed, Reynoso said.
The process to negotiate the new contract was lengthy because of the busy schedules of both parties, Reynoso said. Otherwise, he added, it was a smooth process.
The quick termination process gives the county flexibility to look for better deals with different providers, Reynoso said.
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