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One consequence of the Town of Star Valley canceling its contract with the Gila County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement services put the county’s animal control service in a bind. Before the cancellation, GCSO deputies would respond to animal calls after-hours, on weekends and holidays. County animal control responded the rest of the time and for no fee, according to a July 2009 intergovernmental agreement.

The town canceled the GCSO contract at the end of September and Star Valley now has the Payson Police Department making patrols and responding to calls. However, according to Michael O’Driscoll, director of the county’s Health and Emergency Management Department, which oversees animal control operations, the PPD told his office it would not be dispatching officers to after-hour, weekend or holiday calls in Star Valley.

That means the county responds to those calls with its animal control staff, which is largely based in Globe.

At the Dec. 1 meeting of the Gila County Board of Supervisors, O’Driscoll said the service is costing much more than is budgeted.

“Having the Gila County Animal Control staff respond to all after-hour, weekend, and holiday animal calls in the Town of Star Valley has a negative impact on the Gila County Animal Control budget. This would require additional funding to cover the added overtime and weekend coverage to provide animal control services to the Town of Star Valley. Therefore, it is the opinion of the Gila County Health & Emergency Management that it makes good fiscal sense to cancel the current IGA with the Town of Star Valley to provide animal control services,” O’Driscoll said.

District 1 Supervisor Tommie Martin asked if O’Driscoll had discussed this with the Star Valley Town Manager/Attorney Tim Grier. He said he had not. She suggested the two meet before they take action on canceling the animal control IGA. Woody Cline, District 3 supervisor, and chair of the BOS, agreed that would be a good idea.

County Manager James Menlove suggested the meeting take place before the supervisors’ Dec. 15 meeting, so action can be taken at that time.

O’Driscoll said he would reach out to Grier.

The supervisors tabled action on canceling the IGA with Star Valley for animal control services.

Contact the reporter at tmcquerrey@payson.com

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