By Tracy Ouellette
If Village of Waterford officials thought they could make an agreement with Waterford township for help with animal control issues, they’ve been barking up the wrong tree.
In a unanimous vote taken Monday night, the Town Board denied the village’s request for the town to take in stray dogs roaming the village next year.
“We’re not in the dog-catching business,” said Town Chairman Bob Langmesser.
“The village has got to learn they are on their own with this.”
Supervisor Dale Gauerke questioned why the village even needs the town’s help with animal control.
He quoted an Oct. 5 Waterford Post article about the village’s new 2013 contract with the Racine County Sheriff’s Office. The contract provides some animal control services for lost or stray animals found in the village.
Langmesser pointed out that a new statute, going into effect Jan. 1, 2013, states specifically that each municipality must provide its own animal control.
“Municipalities have been working on this for over a year and it’s amazing they have nothing (in place),” said Langmesser.
He noted that the town had made a considerable investment to provide its own animal control services, including the expense of training town Treasurer Heather Stratton as an animal warden so she can run things.
“If you partner up with another municipality, you have to go to the next level and it’s very expensive,” said Langmesser.
Supervisor Tim Szeklinski said he didn’t want to see town police become the local dogcatcher. Supervisor Tom Hincz pointed out that it’s often difficult to determine if a lost dog belongs to a village or town resident.
Langmesser instructed Ken Hinz, of the town’s Department of Public Works, to put locks on the dog cages now being used, saying he doesn’t want to come in one morning and find someone had mysteriously dropped off dogs.
The town’s 2013 plans for animal control include a kennel area with cages and personnel to take care of the dogs while they are in the town’s custody.
Gauerke said Chief Tom Ditscheit had given up an evidence locker for the new area, along with space made available from the DPW and the town clerk’s office.
The newfound space is currently being set up for animal control purposes and will get a new coat of paint.
“We’re pretty well set to go,” said Langmesser.
In other business, the Town Board decided to install cameras at Waterford Town Park in Tichigan in response to ongoing vandalism there.
Hinz told the board that recently some “kids got in there and made a mess” again and suggested cameras be used.
“It’s a beautiful park and people enjoy it, but you can’t police it,” said Langmesser, explaining: “They can see the cars coming down that road.”
• The board also approved the purchase of a new DPW forklift at a cost of $9,600. The DPW had been sharing a forklift with the Waterford Sanitary District, but according to Langmesser the WSD’s forklift is in bad repair and the town needed its own equipment.
“It will be something that is valued and we can really use,” he said.
The money for the forklift will come from surplus funds left over from last winter’s salt fund. The town did not spend $21,700 in budgeted salt money last season due to our mild winter.
• The board also voted to have insulation placed in the wall of the Police Department to save money on heating costs. Waterford Sanitary District owns the building and has been working with a previous contractor to rectify problems caused by a lack of insulation in some areas of the building. No legal action has been taken so far.
The Town Board voted to have tinsulation installed at the town’s cost and to seek reimbursement from the Sanitary District.