Carter County mayor asks Elizabethton city leaders for $200,000 increase in funds for animal shelter

ELIZABETHTON, TN (WJHL) –  “We-need-more-money,” those were the words coming from the Carter County mayor on Wednesday as he addressed city leaders in Elizabethton during a budget work session about the shared county-city animal shelter.

That shelter is already the center of a state investigation. The county mayor says more money will help fix problems at the shelter.

Mayor Leon Humphrey wants the city to sign off on a more than $230,000 increase in operating funds for the Elizabethton-Carter county animal shelter.

The request comes nearly a year after a state investigation revealed several problems at the animal shelter that the Carter County mayor says is centered on fraud, waste, and abuse.

With additional funding from the city and county, Mayor Humphrey says food, shelter, and medical expenses can be kept up for dozens of animals at the shelter.

“To eradicate many of the problems that we discovered, back in June of last year naturally it takes additional funding,” Humphrey said.

Additional funding Elizabethton city mayor Curt Alexander says the city doesn’t have. He says raising the operating cost budget would mean more than doubling what the city already puts up for the shelter.

“Currently, we’ve got the city paying 50 percent and the county paying 50 percent of the operating expenses, we are just looking to kind of reduce that and bring that more in line with the city’s population within the county,” Kurt Alexander said.

Mayor Alexander says in order to meet the county mayor’s demands it could mean more money that city taxpayers would have to shell out.

“To us in the city that is equal to a four cent tax increase, property tax, each cent on the property tax is about $25,000,” Alexander says.

Still, Mayor Humphrey wants the initial agreement honored.

While budget discussions continue- both mayors say they want to ensure that animals in carter county are getting the best care possible. County and city attorneys are looking over the initial shelter agreement to come up with an outcome that would benefit both parties.

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