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Council Eyes Animal Control
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Animal control is expected to be the hottest topic at Monday's Riverbank City Council meeting. The council meets regularly on the second and fourth Mondays of the month starting at 7 p.m. in chambers at 6707 Third St.

Stanislaus County, which currently provides Riverbank with animal control services for about $50,000 per year, is proposing to raise the overall cost to around $201,000, said City Manager Rich Holmer.

So staff has been looking at various options and will recommend Riverbank consider contracting with Oakdale for about $120,000. Oakdale has its own shelter, manages to get 90 percent of its animals adopted instead of euthanized, and Riverbank might keep costs down by doing tasks like its own licensing checks.

The Oakdale shelter, however, will be at capacity for the next six to nine months. So Riverbank has cleaned up and repaired its own shelter, unused for many years, and could house animals there for the interim.

Other agenda items include awarding the contract to construct the Teen Center in the park next to the Riverbank Community Center; having state officials do a free audit of the city's energy use and advise on how it could make savings; hear Community Development Director J.D. Hightower update the agricultural policy section of the general plan; and have Economic Development Director Tim Ogden speak on downtown revitalization committee by-laws.

Staff also will recommend formation of a citizens watchdog committee to review the budget, capital improvements programs and employee pay proposals each year.

Holmer noted at the time the sewer rate increase proposal failed the city received questions from the public asking why the city did not use general funds to offset sewer rates. In light of that, Holmer said he feels the city needs to communicate more clearly with the community on subjects like the use of restricted funds.