Dr. Luke Sets Record Straight On Animal Services For City

Dr. Charles Luke owner of the Solomon Valley Veterinary Hospital came before the Beloit City Council meeting last night to give a short presentation on his business and the services he provides to the City of Beloit.

"Don't think I came here asking or pleading for more funds for the services I provide for the city," Dr. Luck told the council. "The money we get for housing these animals doesn't make any difference to our bottom line." Luke said he came to the meeting to clear up some of the stories going around town about the high prices he charges to provide housing for lost or discarded animals within the city.

People have stopped him on the street and questioned him about the money he is charging the City. While he did not name names, he said, this all goes back to some of the quotes given at the last Beloit Council meeting that were far from the truth. The total cost of their services usually runs between $450 and $500 a month with the normal month running about $370 and not the $1,000 that was quoted at the last Beloit Council meeting, Luke said.

Dr. Luke said they charge the City $11.50 a day and give them a discount of one-half the regular price. They charge $5.62 a day for large dogs, $5.25 a day for medium sized animals, $4.62 for smaller animals and $4.37 for cats. They also find a lot of homes for these dogs and have 85 percent adoption rate. They do not charge the city full price and if the owner shows up they collect the cost from them, he said.

Going back to when this all started 30 years ago, Luke said, the City Administrator at that time came to him and asked him to help the city with this problem. He and the person who saw to the animals at that time had no problem getting along. For a long time he provided all the food for the animals but had to stop that service several years ago due to cost.

They have spayed or neutered fifteen to twenty of these animals in the last six months. Often Dr. Luke has veterinary students working for him and he allows them to perform this operation with the supervision of one of his staff assisting. This helps the students out too, he said.

The facility has 42 cages for these animals at the present time. Eleven cages for large dogs, four cages for medium sized dogs or cats and twenty-seven cages for small animals. He also has 20 outside runs to exercise them in.

Dr. Luke is presently in the process of enlarging his veterinary hospital but he made it clear that this has nothing to do with his agreement with the city or the animals brought in to his facility by City Code Enforcement Officer, Chris Jones. One of the real sore spots is that people have been saying his facility turns animals from the Humane Society down because they are full and they need the room for other animals but Dr. Luke says this does not happen. "I am of retirement age," Doc Luke said. "I am not enlarging the facility for me, I am doing it for the staff who work with me." He acknowledged the closing of the Beloit Veterinary Clinic will probably increase the number of animals they house and may crimp the room they have available but the expansion should take a little stress out of it. After the expansion project is finished they will have room for 60 crates to house the animals in.

Dr. Luke made it clear this has nothing to do with the Post Rock Humane Society. This agreement is between the Solomon Valley Veterinary Hospital and the City of Beloit although he has nothing against the Humane Society.

The times during the year when they have full capacity as far as housing animals for the city includes several holidays throughout the year. One of those busy times is the Labor Day weekend that just passed when they housed 55 animals including two large pound dogs and four cats.

"As I said, providing this service to the city does not affect our bottom line. I am not here asking for more money. Providing this service gives us a chance to give back to the community. We are fine with the agreement we have now. I am not shy and if I have any problem with this I will let you know," Dr. Luke told the Council. The Council later agreed they felt this clears this situation up and they are happy with the agreement as it stands now and it does not include the Humane Society's plans.

City Administrator, Glenn Rodden, introduced the City Auditor, Jay Langley of Salina, who presented the annual city audit. Langley said they made a few recommendations to the staff as to how to handle the budget on a daily basis but nothing very large. He said a few more situations came up this year but the staff is working to get them all straightened out.

The Auditor explained the city has a General Ledger for each department they have and the office needs to provide the members of the City Council a copy of this at their monthly meetings so they can look at each fund and not just the overall total. This will tell them whether they are over budget in any of the departments so this can be corrected right away. He added the city council should not approve any expenditure that exceeds the budgeted amount.

Three budget violations were sited including the Electric Fund, which took in far more funds than budgeted for. The Employee Benefit Fund and the Special Benefit fund had considerably more expense than budgeted for. These three problems are being corrected at the present time, Langley said.

Langley said the City of Beloit has increased its worth this year by more than six million dollars over the year before. He said they had no problems with the city staff that presented the requested information in a timely manor.

Administrator Glenn Rodden reported the city has been approved for the Geometric Improvement Grant on Highway 24. There were 41 applicants and Beloit was one of 18 who received the grant. Rodden said none of the city's present projects qualify for the new housing grants so they will hold off and plan to apply next year. The north Mill Street reconstruction is progressing.

The installation of the new waterline is still going on. They plan to have the riverbank stabilization project done by October sometime. The meter replacement problems have been straightened out. North Mill Street is open to homeowners in that area at the present time. The pool project is finished but the Power Plant Cooling Tower project is still in progress. They started running the plant again last Monday and have continued to be able to sell electricity to other entities.

Formal actions taken by the council included: Appointing voting delegates to the League of Kansas Municipalities annual meeting with Amanda Lomax and Kendall Francis appointed delegates; and Matt Otte and Pat Struble appointed alternates. Due to problems with the sale of the house on the North Campus the council voted to retake possession of the house and pay David Kohler back $3,688.35. This causes the city to lose $350 on the ale. Parts of the house may be able to be reclaimed.

The council approved the appointment of Jeff Crissman as a member of the Beloit Fire Department. The Council approved the bid of Solomon Corporation, Solomon, KS. in the amount of $22,530 to repair a transformer for the power plant. The Federal Communications Commission has mandated all two way radios band widths be reduced to narrow band by January 1, 2013 The council approved a bid to purchase and installation of sewer lift station alarms from Pierce Electronics of Mankato in the amount of $23,400 since this was the only bid received.

A 10-minute Attorney Client Privileged Information Closed Session was held with City Administrator Rodden and City Attorney Katie Cheney present. Following the meeting Mayor Tom Naasz announced no decisions were made during the meeting.

During the work session Councilman Bob Petterson asked about the Airport status. Attorney Cheney said they have two remaining acquisitions to be approved. They have received the grants they applied for and should receive the money in the next several months. Construction will not start until next year. The architect is not completely finished with the airport design. After these are finished they will be ready to let bids on the project, Cheney said.

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