Hays County Commissioners are set to review and consider funding measures to manage the community’s cat population.
The commissioners will consider adopting an interim community cat management policy based on Team Shelter USA’s feasibility study and recommendation at Tuesday’s regular meeting, according to the agenda.
The Hays County Community Cat Management Policy Statement proposes stopping the impoundment of community cats in favor of admitting them to a spay/neuter/return (SNR) program.
“These cats will be temporarily admitted to the San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter for SNR only and will be neutered, vaccinated, fitted with an ear tip, microchipped and returned to point of origin the next day,” says the policy text.
The policy defines community cats as any unowned, free-roaming cat that can be cared for by one or more residents of the immediate area who is/are known or unknown. Community cats may or may not be socialized; wild or not wild.
“Animal welfare advocates agree that the return of cats to their original homes where they are already cared for, based on their healthy body weight and coat, does not constitute abandonment,” according to the statement. Politics.
Animal/Field Control Officers can make exceptions to the SNR for cats in the community that are injured, sick, or potentially exposed to rabies.
Also on file is a proposal to provide matching funds to the non-profit organization Hays PAWS on the Ground for a trap/neuter/return (TNR) program for unowned community cats in San Marcos.
Shadow Cats One Life Fund provided $5,000 with a matching funds requirement to support PAWS on Ground Hays’ CatTip Hays pilot program, according to the article’s abstract.
The $5,000 would come from the county’s Tobacco Settlement Special Revenue Fund and go towards neutering and neutering community cats in the Victory Garden, Blanco Gardens, Dunbar and Barrio Pescado/Wallace Addition neighborhoods.
Additionally, $5,000 would allow PAWS to treat 66 cats, at a cost of $75 per cat, according to PAWS.
If Hays County Commissioners agree to provide the funding, Shadow Cats One Life Fund has pledged to double the grant amount to $10,000.
In a letter to Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe, the article’s sponsor, Sharri Boyett and Nicky Ladkin of PAWS On The Ground expressed their gratitude for her sponsorship and underscored the urgency of the community cat issue.
“CatTip Hays goals are an integral part of Hays County’s non-elimination initiative,” they wrote. “The need is great, and without extending TNR to the central region of Texas, the burden of unwanted and unhealthy cats will continue to increase as human population growth in Hays County and surrounding area explodes.”
In addition to funding proposals and policy initiatives, commissioners are expected to hear an update on the Hays County Animal Control Ordinance from the Office of the General Counsel.
Another funding measure considered by the commissioners will be the creation of a position of director of youth services.
Commissioners will also consider a joint funding agreement between Hays County, Texas State University, CISD San Marcos and the City of San Marcos for a Director of Youth Services.
The Director of Youth Services will be a member of the Core 4 Working Group, which consists of two representatives appointed by Hays County, the University and SCISD and three representatives appointed by the city, and will be responsible for the administration and providing educational programs for youth in the community.
The amount requested from TXST, SCISD and Hays County is $20,000. The Hays County allocation would come from the Tobacco Establishment Special Revenue Fund.
The SCISD board was due to discuss the funding agreement at its school board meeting on Monday.
In addition to the $20,000 for educational services, Text My Gov, Inc. is requesting $15,000 for text messaging services for the public to communicate with the county clerk’s office.
TextMyGov is a 24-hour subscription-based software that allows citizens to ask questions and get immediate answers, find links to information on the County Clerk’s Office website, solve problems or report any problems, as per the summary of the agenda item.
The commissioners have already approved $11,000 for the service in the FY23 budget and are proposing an additional $4,000 to increase software maintenance and licensing. Funds would come from the Records and Archives Management Fund.
In other business, commissioners will issue a proclamation declaring Nov. 15 GIS Day and hear a presentation on Hays County’s mental health needs.
The proclamation, sponsored by County Judge Ruben Becerra, was suggested as a way to celebrate technology “crucial to moderating and maintaining key elements of our county such as our infrastructure, natural resources and emergency response;” according to the text of the proclamation.
The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute is also set to present the results of the Mental Health Needs Assessment conducted in Hays County.
The Commissioners Court meeting will begin at 9 a.m. at the historic Hays County Courthouse located at 111 E. San Antonio St.
Those wishing to participate in public comment may submit a public participation/witness form to the county clerk by 9 a.m. Tuesday.
For those not attending the meeting but still wishing to submit public comments to be read at the Commissioners Court, visit the Hays County website to complete and submit a PDF form to [email protected] us no later than 5 p.m. the evening before a meeting of the Commissioners’ Tribunal.
To view the full meeting agenda or watch the Commissioner’s Court live stream, visit https://hayscountytx.com/commissioners-court/court-video.