MOUNT CARMEL — Following discussion last week among Wabash County Commissioners regarding animal control, a request has been made of the City of Mount Carmel to increase the city's payment for the service by $4,000.

City Commissioner Joe Judge told the city council Monday that County Commissioner Chairman Rob Dean has requested the city pay $10,000 per year for animal control services for city residents. The city now pays $6,000 per year.

"We are currently the only municipality in the county providing money for animal control," said Judge. Other communities in the county — Keensburg, Allendale and Bellmont — don't pay for animal control services.

City Commissioner Eric Ikemire said he's concerned about city residents having to pay double the amount for animal control services.

"I agree with Mr. Ikemire, we all pay taxes and city residents are already contributing to that expense through county taxes. I would encourage them to look at the other communities that aren't paying any extra for help, especially when we are already struggling with finances," said City Clerk Rudy Witsman.

Judge reported Monday that the projected balance for the end of the year for the general fund is $26,270 and for the department fund, there will be a deficit of $148,000. "There is no fluff in the budget, this is basic bare-bones budgeting," he said.

Mayor Bill Hudson agreed. "Maybe the other communities can start paying some for the services and make up the additional $4,000 the county is requesting," he suggested.

County commissioners noted April 2 that half the calls made to animal control are to city residents. Animal Control Officer Sam Osmond is a county employee, who receives a yearly salary, benefits and mileage reimbursement from the county.

City Commissioners tabled a vote on the matter until their next meeting April 23 at City Hall.

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