They are getting closer. But, after nine months, it still isn't a done deal.
The Blue Earth City Council once again spent some of their regular meeting last Monday night discussing a contract for the operation of the city-owned animal shelter which has been operated and maintained by the Faribault County Humane Society.
The previous contract had expired last January.
Mayor Rick Scholtes reported to the council that he and city administrator Kathy Bailey had met with the humane society to hammer out details in the language of the proposed contract.
"The biggest change is to allow them (humane society) to take in more animals as long as they keep two kennels open for any Blue Earth animals that come in," Scholtes says. "They agree to keep those two spots open."
Humane society members Deb Johnson and Staci Thompson were at the meeting and said they didn't think that would be a problem.
"We plan to reconfigure the shelter area and have room for four kennels," Johnson says. "So there should always be room. We haven't had that problem before, except one time when two dogs and a goat came in at the same time."
Other changes in language included adoption policies and number of days the city will pay for each animal's stay.
The council, which had approved a previous version of the contract, voted unanimously Monday night to approve this version as well.
Now it will go back to the humane society board for their official approval.
Scholtes says he will take this new version to the sheriff and area chiefs of police for their reapproval as well.
The overall plan is animals will be brought to the shelter from around the county as needed. Some will come from law enforcement agencies, some from citizens and some from a new animal control officer.
That person would be hired by the city of Blue Earth, but their salary would be shared by several towns and the county.
Bailey said they have not yet advertised the position and won't until the contract is in place.
Councilman Russ Erichsrud wondered how the operation of the shelter has been going for the society, especially financially.
Johnson said they are doing alright financially, especially since they have all volunteer labor.
"We have about $15,000 in expenses and have had that amount in income," she says. "Our biggest expense is $750 for liability insurance."
Johnson suggested the rate the city pays per animal per day may have to be raised in the future.
She adds the society has been very busy and has adopted out 595 animals in the past five years.
"That is about one every three days," she says. "Not all in Blue Earth, of course. We have placed a lot of animals in many places. People in Minnesota Lake, for instance, have taken quite a few."
Thompson says the society has about 10 volunteers.
"We do this because we have a passion for animals," she says. "We want to find them homes and not have them euthanized."
Erichsrud thanked them for their hard work and dedication.
"You really do go the extra mile," he says.
In a non-related matter, the question of a request for a hearing on a potentially dangerous dog that had been on the meeting's agenda was postponed until Oct. 21.