While it may seem like county officials need a little help with math, the numbers used to justify the proposed purchase of an incinerator for Columbia County Animal Care and Control really do add up.
Currently, Animal Control workers haul euthanized animals and road-kill carcasses to the landfill, paying $3,900 in tipping fees to dump roughly 3,500 animals per year. The agency also spends $9,200 in labor and transportation costs.
A $46,000 incinerator would allow Animal Control to burn the carcasses cleanly on site. It would reduce labor and transportation costs, and eliminate landfill fees.
What might raise an eyebrow is the idea that the county will save money if Animal Control no longer pays landfill fees. Isnt the county just switching money from one pocket to the other, paying itself for a service?
If that were the case, the numbers really wouldnt add up. But the key is that the landfill, like the countys water system, is supported by customers - not taxpayers. The savings from the incinerator would be a loss for the landfill operation, but it would be a gain for taxpayers.
Sure, the idea that Animal Control will save on transportation and labor costs is a little fuzzy; wouldnt those workers be paid anyway? But the $3,900 per year savings on tipping fees is real, and a pretty good return on a smart investment.
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