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City of Niagara Falls agreement with SPCA approved for another year

NIAGARA FALLS – The city will continue its relationship with the SPCA of Niagara for at least another year.

Niagara Falls lawmakers Tuesday night gave Mayor Paul A. Dyster the go-ahead to finalize a one-year contract with the SPCA of Niagara, a deal that would expire May 31, 2016. The parties have had a month-to-month agreement in place since December.

In recent years, the city had been told by SPCA officials that the organization wanted to stop housing animals from the Falls, because of the overwhelmingly large number of animals that come into its facility from the city.

In a memo to Council members, Dyster said he preferred to continue the relationship rather than a more costly option it had been considering: building its own shelter.

“At this time, it would appear to be more fiscally prudent for the city to continue its arrangement with the SPCA based on this proposal rather than incur the expense of constructing a city-owned animal shelter and the cost of staffing it,” Dyster wrote.

The annual cost is expected to rise by about $25,000 for the 12-month period. The city had been paying $16,500 per month for an annual total of $198,000.

The mayor called the increase a “reasonable reflection” of the agency’s increased operating costs.

The Police Department has taken on some of the animal control function the SPCA had long provided. Additional officers will be trained in order to further expand coverage, Dyster said in his memo.

The vote was 5-0.

In another matter, the Council unanimously approved the purchase of new hardware and software for the city’s 911 communications system at a cost of almost $227,000.

The existing system is almost 7 years old, Police Superintendent E. Bryan DalPorto told lawmakers, and the warranty expired after the fifth year. At this point, it has become hard to find a contractor to make repairs, he said.

Both the animal-control plan and the purchase of the new hardware and software would be paid for by the city’s share of casino revenues.

email: abesecker@buffnews.com