Breckenridge Texan

City Commission approves $25 fee for citizens turning animals over to shelter

City Commission approves $25 fee for citizens turning animals over to shelter
March 10
11:36 2020

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At their March meeting, the Breckenridge City Commissioners voted to approve the first reading of a new ordinance that will charge local citizens a fee to turn an animal over to the animal shelter. The ordinance requires two readings and will be presented again at the April meeting before becoming effective on April 16.

According to the documents presented at the March 3 meeting, City of Breckenridge officials plan to charge a $25 “animal surrender fee” to cover the costs incurred by the animal shelter when receiving an animal. The commissioners voted to add the fee to the City’s official Fee Schedule.

“What we’ve done in the past, whenever somebody wants to bring an animal into the shelter, we’ve just been taking it, no fee. It falls on the City and the Humane Society to get their shots, to feed them, and all that,” Codes Enforcement Officer Calvin Chaney said. “So, we’re requesting $25 per animal. That way that covers some of that cost and takes some of the burden off the Humane Society and the City of Breckenridge.”

Chaney said that the City and the non-profit Humane Society must pay for vet care for the animals before they can be adopted out or sent to rescue organizations.

“Our experience has been that when we pick up an animal and take it to the shelter and feed them and get them vetted and all that, that when we find the owner, they’ll say, ‘Well, I don’t want to pay for all that; you just keep the dog,” City Manager Andy McCuistion said. “Now, at least it’s going to cost them $25 an animal for us to keep the dog, and will defray part of that cost.”

In 2019, the animal shelter took in 392 dogs, 63 cats and four animals classified as livestock, according to the report submitted to the City Commission in February. (Those numbers do not reflect the number of animals the shelter already had in-house at the beginning of the year.) Throughout the year, 55 animals were reclaimed by their owners, 83 were adopted and 217 were sent to rescue groups.

When reclaiming an animal (dog, cat or fowl), the owner must pay a variety of fees already in place, including, a $15 pound fee, a $10 board fee per 24-hour period the animal is at the shelter, and the cost of vaccinations or veterinary care provided to the animal while it’s impounded – $25 minimum. Additionally, the owners of impounded dogs that do not have a city license are charged another $25.

The charge for licensing a dog in Breckenridge is $10 per year. Dangerous dogs, as defined by the city code, must be registered for a fee of $50 per year.

Search for a City Manager

Following McCuistion’s announcement last month of his retirement, effective April 30, the City began accepting applications for the position. McCuistion said that, as of March 3, the City had received 10 applications.

Applications will be accepted through March 29, and McCuistion said he expects to receive many more applications. The applications will be reviewed by the hiring committee, which includes McCuistion, former mayor Jimmy McKay, current mayor Bob Sims, former city commissioner Sherry Strickland and current commissioner Tom Cyprian.

Brush Chipping and City Cleanup

The City of Breckenridge and Stephens County will team up again to provide brush (tree trimmings) pickup and chipping for residents inside the city limits.

During the week of March 30, brush will be picked up, chipped with a woodchipper and hauled off. Residents will need to have the brush they want picked up on their curbside by Friday, March 27.

No brush larger than 4 inches in diameter will be picked up. Brush must be cut in lengths no longer than 6 feet long, and butt ends must be placed toward the street or curb. Uprooted trees with roots attached cannot be run through the chipper. No dirt can be encrusted on the brush.

There is no charge to residents for the pickup service. Also it is not necessary to contact either the City of Breckenridge or Stephens County to schedule a pickup because trucks will run the entire city during that week. Trucks will be running in separate sections of the city during this week, and any brush put out on the curbside after March 27 will not be removed.

While the pickup service has been provided on a semi-annual basis for several years, city residents can take tree limbs to the city’s convenience station at no charge throughout the year. The convenience station hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 1 to 5 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, contact the city offices at 254-559-8287.

Additionally, the City will host a combined cleanup and tire recycling event in May. The City will provide commercial dumpsters at the Convenience Station for local citizens to use May 18-22. On May 23, the City will have a semi-trailer for tire disposal. Residents will be allowed to turn in six tires free of charge.

Chaney said more information will be available closer to the events.

He also said he wants to remind residents that they are allowed pickup of three bulk items per residential unit per month but that they must call the City offices to request the service. For more information on the bulk pickup service, click here.

Construction projects

During the meeting, Sage Diller, a project engineer and associate vice president with Enprotec/Hibbs and Todd, the firm overseeing several local road construction projects, addressed the commissioners regarding some of the city’s construction projects.

The commissioners approved the final project acceptance and release of retainage funds for the water line replacement project. The project has been inspected and the contractor has made the final repairs, Diller said.

Following the approval, Diller presented a large map of the City of Breckenridge, showing the city’s water distribution system, highlighting the water line replacement projects that have been completed during McCuistion’s eight years as city manager.

“It’s a large percentage of the overall system,” Diller said. “I think the city has gotten a great benefit out of all those projects. … It’s something that, at times, maybe goes unnoticed because it becomes buried. But, I think it’s a big achievement that’s been achieved over the last eight years.”

Diller estimated that the total project amount at about $9-10 million, that was mostly funded with grants and loans.

“This was partially paid for — a big portion of it — through the generosity of TxDOT (the Texas Department of Transportation), because they’re paying 90 percent of those major projects that we’re doing, and we’re only paying the 10 percent,” McCuistion said.


Sage Diller, left, with Enprotec/Hibbs & Todd, Inc., and Phillip Bullard hold up a map highlighting all of the water line replacement projects that have been completed during City Manager Andy McCuistion’s tenure. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

The commissioners also approved a change order presented by Diller for the wastewater treatment project. Additionally, they approved the closeout of the wastewater treatment plant contract and release of the final payment, pending completion of the punch list and final approval of the project by the Texas Water Development Board.

Other Business

In other business, the City Commission approved the following:

  • An ordinance to close the alley between 607 N. Parks and 611 N. Parks so that the property can be developed.
  • A request to approve a plat at 1200, 1208 and 1216 Glenwood Circle for a residence.
  • A request to increase the incentive pay for City employees to obtain their Commercial Driver License from 50 cents per hour to $1 per hour in order to encourage more employees to get a CDL.
  • A request for a paving project on Elliott Street from Harvey to Mistletoe and on McAmis from Walker to Williams, using a portion of the Street Sales Tax Fund for a total of $49,999. The contract was awarded to Raydon, Inc.


Story by Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Cutline, top photo: Breckenridge City Manager Andy McCuistion, right, talks to the city commissioners, from left, Tom Cyprian, Mayor Bob Sims and Russell Blue at the March 3 meeting. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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