Unless things change significantly, the Frankfort City Council elected to pull funding Monday night from the Clinton County Humane Society in 2019 for its Trap, Neuter and Release (TNR) program.
“They (the Humane Society) need to come forward with a new and improved program,” said Mayor Chris McBarnes. “I think some things also need to be remedied that have already occurred which involves money that we believe the City of Frankfort is due back based upon TNR funds being used in other areas where they were not approved to be used.”
McBarnes said the council elected to pull the $22,000 requested by the Humane Society for 2019 and move it into the not-for-profit discretionary funding line item. He added the money is available if the Humane Society adheres to certain things involving transparency, restructuring and funds coming back to the city that are due the taxpayers based on monies not being used for the TNR program as they should have been.
McBarnes says he thinks the City Council made a good decision in this matter.
“They put themselves in a good position of flexibility where we can still call for transparency, but we don’t tie our hands,” said McBarnes. “We do have some funds to operate a TNR program next year, a new and improved TNR program. So, I stand beside their decision and everything will be done in the public from here on out in regards to that decision making. That’s the way it needs to be.”
McBarnes also said he has heard of the possibility of another proposal to operate TNR to possibly come the way of the city.
The main reason for the action on the TNR program was the effect it has on the 2019 budget, which the city passed on second reading with the amendment dealing with the funding change included.
The council also approved the first reading of an ordinance authorizing the entering into of a conditional project expenditure agreement of the City of Frankfort for the IU Health Hospital Project and the lending of the proceeds thereof to IU Health, and authorizing and approving other actions in respect thereto.
“I think everyone’s excited about this brand new $30 million hospital being located in Frankfort,” said McBarnes. “What a leap forward this will be for our city and it’ll just be another big puzzle piece for quality of place, eventually attracting more families to live here, growing our population and creating more jobs. Frankfort has some momentum and this is just another example of that momentum.”
The IU Health project has now been approved by the Frankfort Redevelopment Commission, City Plan Commission, Clinton County Commissioners and the Frankfort City Council.
McBarnes also elected to address a matter dealing with the city’s debt numbers which are way out of whack according to social media outlets.
“The one thing I really wanted to point out in comparison to us and other communities is that other communities, for the most part, when they issue debt, they will establish a new tax onto the citizens to support that debt,” said McBarnes. “We have not done that in the City of Frankfort.”
McBarnes said as of October 1, the city’s current debt is $33,738,444.00.