WAXAHACHIE — The Ellis County Commissioners Court discussed the request for additional funding for the SPCA at its Tuesday meeting.

At the previous court meeting, SPCA representatives told the court that its current contract with the county is not covering expenses.

Addressing the court was Martha Weedon, who serves as the certified public accountant for the SPCA. Weedon presented the court with financial records that document the income, expenses and outstanding debt the non-profit has on its books.

“We have 42 kennels. I look at it as if we were a La Quinta. We have rooms to rent and beds to rent. The state says we have to keep your animals for three days. So at $19.82 per bed for three days I calculated it at $59.49 is what it costs us to keep your animals three days, so $60,” Weedon said. “I think that $60 is our cost and that is what we are asking for today. Since we were here last, we struck up a deal with Ennis for $60 and would like to make the same agreement with you all.”

Ellis County Judge Carol Bush told Weedon that she understands the spot that the SPCA is in financially. However, this request would legally cause the county to bid out the contract since it is more than $50,000. The current contract the county has with the SPCA is $48,000 per year.

“If we were to have an increase that would immediately trigger that we would have to put out a request for proposal and let the market take over. This is not a professional service and does not fall under the exception. I don’t think that we can make a decision today,” Bush explained. “I don’t want you to think that we don’t want to work with the SPCA. Obviously, it is a service that the county needs for animal control purposes and safety. I appreciate the work that the SPCA does and its mission is one that we all can embrace. We have to balance county needs and putting it out for bid. I am not holding it over the SPCA’s head. It is just a reality.”

Precinct 3 Commissioner Paul Perry told the court that the SPCA has implemented fundraising strategies and donations to help with the growing expenses, but it is not enough.

“I think that we are going to have to bid this. We are a growing county and have to provide some degree of animal control and welfare. These people are acting in our stead doing that. So I think that we are going to have to go through a bid process,” Perry stated. “We know what their number is and I don’t know, it is all speculation at this point that anyone can get close to what they are doing. We probably need to get on it as far as a bid process.”

The court on this matter took no action, but future discussion will be held on this item in the future. A date for discussion on this item has not been set at this time.

Following the regular session, the court convened into executive session. Upon return to open court commissioners approved for Bush to negotiate the sale or lease of real property. The commissioners also approved the 2017-2018 fiscal year payroll and commissioners court schedules. Commissioners Court will now meet at 10 a.m. instead of 2 p.m. starting with its first meeting in October. Court meets the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. This change was made to accommodate the new payroll schedule.

In other business the court,

• Approved a preliminary replat of Bluestem Hills located north of Marion Road and east of Farm-to-Market Road 157 in Venus.

• Approved a final plat of the phase four Taylor Ridge subdivision located on Oak Vista Road east of Oak Branch Road in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the City of Waxahachie.

• Approved a contract to release a performance bond issued by NGM Insurance Company for $237,686.20 and accept the maintenance bond issued by the Main Street America Group for $95,074 for phase four of the Taylor Ridge subdivision in the ETJ of the City of Waxahachie.

• Approved a request to grant a one-time variance from the county rules, regulations, and specifications for subdivisions and manufactured homes to allow a water well without meeting the meeting the minimum lot size and frontage requirements located at 200 Stone Ridge Dr. in the ETJ of the City of Waxahachie.

• Approved a request to abandon a lot in the Four Mile Creek Estates located north of Highway 34 in the ETJ of the City of Ennis.

• Approved for Bush to sign a Xerox lease agreements for the Community Supervision and Corrections Department for a new monthly payment of $94.50.

• Approved the 2017-2018 comprehensive liability insurance renewal.

• Approved to surplus obsolete books from the law library.

• Took no action to update the standardized bid package that was approved on Dec. 10, 2012.

• Heard an update the all the county’s vehicle allocations.

• Approved a resolution to convey struck off properties to Ellis County Habitat for Humanity.

• Approved for Bush to sign the TWC Data Exchange request and safeguard plan for the Ellis County and District Attorney’s Office to initiate the process of renewing the contract with the Texas Workforce Commission for online access to confidential information contained in the unemployment insurance records.

• Approved for the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office to apply for participation in the Texas Law Enforcement Support Office Program. This program allows law enforcement agencies to receive Department of Defense excess.

• Approved the offsite backup data storage for the jail not to exceed $62,20 and to approve any necessary budget line item transfers.