Updated: October 5, 2012 6:03AM
GENEVA — With many questions still looming, Kane County officials are looking at how to improve the county’s animal control department.
The department has been without an executive director for more than a year and has had trouble generating revenue in that time. With a new budget proposal due, the public health committee this past week discussed options for improving the department’s efficiencies.
“The animal control department needs to put a lot of processes in place, and that won’t happen overnight,” said Health Department Executive Director Barbara Jeffers.
Jeffers said she is working with the information technology department to develop a more-efficient system for tracking rabies violations. The department fell behind on entering rabies vaccinations and had a backlog of 60,000 files. It ended up spending $27,000 on temporary employees to catch up with the files.
One of the department’s largest revenue producers is from rabies immunization violations. It stopped issuing the violations, then realized the magnitude of how far behind it was when county board member Melisa Taylor, R-Sugar Grove, received a rabies violation ticket in error.
Jeffers wants to get a system in place that will allow the department to better see who is in violation. It is working to do that before resuming issuing violation notices, she said.
Jeffers said she also wants to increase the visibility of the county’s adoption programs. While that doesn’t produce as much revenue as tags and registration fees, it will help improve the efficiency of the department, she said.
Jeffers wants to develop a strong marketing program that will help alert county residents to the option of adopting an animal through the animal control department.
However, fixing data entry so animal control can begin issuing violations again is still her No. 1 goal because it will provide more revenue.
The committee also discussed an upcoming change in state statutes that will require charging different amounts for tags on non-neutered or -spayed animals.
A one-year tag for spayed or neutered dogs and cats will cost $10, while it will cost $25 for non-neutered dogs and cats. A three-year tag for neutered or spayed dogs and cats will be $25 but will be $50 for non-neutered or spayed dogs and cats.