A $3,000 request in a $22 million budget isn’t much, but for pet-owning families in El Campo it can make an extreme difference, city council learned during budget talks.
Those dollars will go toward the Stray Pet Outreach Team (SPOT) efforts to spay and neuter animals, SPOT Director Christine Stransky told council. The request doubles this year’s funding levels and gained council support.
“It’s a lot cheaper for both us and the city to get pets fixed before they go to the shelter,” Stransky said.
SPOT has fixed 36 dogs and cats since Oct. 1, costing the City of El Campo $1,500 and SPOT $15,000. It’s money well spent, Stransky said. “We’re trying to be more proactive, to get to the problem before it gets to you (the city).”
Spaying or neutering an animal costs around $300 typically, but area vets offer SPOT a discount. Under the program, the City of El Campo pays $40 per animal through the amount pledged in the budget, SPOT pays $40 and the owner is responsible for $50.
“I think it (the budgetary increase) is well deserving. It’s a shame people have to treat animals the way they do, but I’m glad there are people like you who love them,” District 3 Councilman David Hodges said.
The city actually has two line items related to spay/neuter programs, one under the El Campo Police Department and the other SPOT’s under outside services.
Mayor Chris Barbee asked whether dollars could be diverted from the ECPD program over to SPOT.
“Those money is used for people who adopt out of the pound (to spay/neuter their new pets),” Stransky said.
The El Campo Animal Shelter works with rescue groups throughout the country to find a home for unwanted animals, but the effort takes funds.
The City of El Campo funds eight other outside agencies in addition to SPOT including the summer youth program at the Boys & Girls Club which will receive $50,000. The city sends $23,000 to the Northside Education Center as part of its partnership with the program and El Campo ISD. These dollars must be used for operations.
The Beautify El Campo Extension or BEEs gets $9,000, $22,500 goes to the El Campo museum, $5,000 to the Crisis Center, $150 to Keep El Campo Beautiful and $12,500 to the Heritage Center.
The El Campo Chamber of Commerce receives funding as well, a part of the Hotel/Motel fund and not the general fund. It’s estimated the chamber will receive $51,000 based on visitor stays.
SPOT was the only agency that requested an increase in funding.