Sherman and Grayson County leaders have come to a temporary agreement on the costs to house and care for lost animals across the region. This week, both the Sherman City Council and Grayson County Commissioners approved agreements that set the price for Sherman to take in animals that are brought in from the county.
Under the new agreement, the county will pay $250 an animal with an additional $50 a day after three days.
Under the previous agreement, the county paid $50 for each animal that was taken in. However, Sherman officials said the real cost was about $440 per animal for the full care.
For the 2020 fiscal year, the county — the largest outside user of the animal shelter — brought in about 20 percent of the animals it took in. However, the county only paid about 2.7 percent of the costs of the shelter last year, leading to concerns that it wasn’t paying its fair share.
The agreement comes amid efforts by Sherman to reform the animal shelter since it was moved under the purview of the Sherman Police Department in late 2020. As a part of these reforms, the department has negotiated with county leaders on adjusting the shelter’s intake prices to match the costs for animal care.
This agreement is slated to go through April 1, 2022, at which point Flores said he expects another agreement to be put forward to the council or the county will have more information on a more permanent solution.
Mayor David Plyler said the county asked that the agreement be effective on Jan. 1, 2022, however, the council instead voted to make the agreement effective immediately.
Plyler said the city traditionally extends courtesies like the preferred start date to other governments.
Council Member Josh Stevenson — who has voiced frustration at the low rate the county has historically paid — said the city has already offered courtesies during these negotiations and he did not see the need to offer more.
“This seems like another courtesy like a hat on a hat,” he said. “Mr. Mayor, in my mind, giving them 90 days to make up their mind on the $400 is a courtesy and this would be a courtesy on a courtesy.”
The Grayson County Commissioners approved their side of the agreement Tuesday morning following executive session discussions. Grayson County Commissioner Jeff Whitmire motioned that the agreement be amended slightly to indicate that the fees are for animals brought to the shelter by the county from unincorporated areas. The agreement was unanimously approved with the amendment.
Meanwhile, Sherman Police Chief Zachary Flores said city officials have been making headway in addressing overcrowding in the shelter. While the shelter has been over capacity for much of 2021, he said the facility is now at about capacity.
He attributed this drop in population at the shelter to adoptions traditionally seen during the Christmas season, a strong surge of cat adoptions and collaboration with rescue groups like the Denison Animal Welfare Group.
For his part, Flores said the agreement doesn’t fully reach what city officials were wanting, but he still felt it was progress in the right direction.
“It helps to mitigate some of the costs that we have in running the shelter and it absolutely is progress.,” he said.