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Snoqualmie Valley cities will participate in King County regional animal plan

The cities of North Bend and Snoqualmie have signed on to King County's new regional animal control and shelter plan.

Checking the "seriously interested" box on a plan ballot, both cities have found the county's proposal to be less costly than organizing an independent plan.

Under the plan, cities pay for service by Regional Animal Services of King County, which replaces the former King County Department of Animal Care and Control. Abandoned animals would be housed at a non-profit shelter in Lynnwood or at the county shelter in Kent. Six full-time animal control officers would be dedicated to work in the field five days per week, with one officer dedicated to each of the county's four animal control districts — one in the east, one in the north and two in the south.

"If everybody in those four regions stay interested and participate, the numbers should be pretty close to what they proposed," said Jim Schaeffer, Snoqualmie Chief of Police.

Voting unanimously for the program, North Bend City council members found the cost to be involved with the program within the city's range.

"This is the best option for us now," said Mayor Ken Hearing.

Participation costs North Bend about $28,900 in 2010, with a $14,300 credit in pet license fees and about $3,500 in transition funding. North Bend would pay the county about $11,000 for service.

In Snoqualmie, service is estimated at $40,600 in 2010, with a $23,000 credit in pet fees. The city's total cost for service would be $17,000.

Learning earlier this week that Bellevue and Mercer Island decided to join the plan, city officials in both North Bend and Snoqaulmie became more confident that costs will not rise significantly this year.

"The number changes will be little to anything," said Duncan Wilson, North Bend City Administrator.

"A small city pulling out is going to be a little amount of money compared to the bigger cities," Schaffer said. "If everyone stays, partner prices will be reasonable."

Schaffer said he has not heard of any city planning on pulling out of the county plan that hasn't already expressed its intention.

King County officials were set to present revised numbers by Friday, May 7 after all cities have turned in their preference.

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