Warden’s budget down 13 percent

Overall, the Auglaize County dog warden’s proposed budget for 2012 should decrease by 13 percent, even though he is requesting a salary increase for his assistant.
Auglaize County Dog Warden Russ Bailey reviewed his budget proposal Monday with the Auglaize County commissioners as they heard the first presentation in a full week of meetings with department heads and elected officials, who will go through details of their budgets in preparation of developing the county’s 2012 budget.
With a total proposed budget of $99,233, a decrease of 13 percent from last year’s budget of $113,489, Bailey’s line items included $49,000 for employee salaries, an increase of 2 percent from this year, which increased medical, workers’ compensation and other related benefits the same percentage amount.
Bailey said he was requesting the salary line item increase not for himself, but for the assistant dog warden based on his efforts and an increased work load.
“I’ve kept mine the same,” Bailey
said. “I understand the way budgets are but it comes back to when I started and was hired and it being a whole lot more than we thought.”
He said he felt his assistant should be paid what he deserves.
“I’m trying to get him closer to where he needs to be,” Bailey said.
With poor working conditions and many weekend, late night and early morning calls, Bailey said he thought the assistant dog warden needed to be making at least $12 an hour.
He said with discouraging figures presented for a new building and higher number of dogs being taken in, the need to better compensate the position is even more important.
“Since we’ve taken over the city of Wapakoneta, the numbers have increased more than I thought,” Bailey said.
He said they respond to calls of vicious dogs, pit bulls and after hours for dogs kept in a holding pen within city limits.
“I’m willing to sacrifice, it’s just not fair what he’s making,” Bailey said. “I’ve never argued with my pay. You guys do what you feel.”
Commissioners left the request as it stood for now with plans to review it later and Commissioner John Bergman planned to look into the salaries for dog wardens and their employees from surrounding counties as a comparison.
Bergman told Bailey he was doing a good job.
“We’re proud to have you working for us,” Commissioner Don Regula said.
In other line items, Bailey requested a $1,700 increase to $12,000 for supplies, a $500 increase to $2,000 for repairs, and a $2,000 increase to $12,000 for contract services, but the biggest difference was a $20,000 decrease to $3,000 for equipment. They used money in that line item to purchase a new vehicle.
He said he increased supplies because of high gasoline and fuel costs, which is the main need and they went through almost all they had budgeted this year.
Other than a few smaller items that may need to be purchased for equipment, Bailey said they shouldn’t need much else this year. And the additional they requested for repairs should cover anything that comes up throughout the year.
Contract services reflects an increase as more dogs are being handled by the dog warden and those that are not adoptable can be taken by Allen County for a $10 fee to euthanize them and dispose of the bodies.
Other line items include $5,000 for claims and witness fees, and $1,500 for travel.
Bailey said they hoped to sell 7,000 dog tags next year, approximately 700 more than this year and 3,200 more annually than when he started in 2008. The sale of dog tags goes toward funding the dog warden’s budget.