Feud heats up between Clark Co., Jeff. mayor over animal shelter

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by Chelsea Rabideau

WHAS11.com

Posted on February 20, 2013 at 8:20 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 21 at 6:53 AM

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WHAS11) -- A feud between Clark County, Ind. commissioners and Jeffersonville’s mayor has escalated. The two sides said communication has broken down completely. Meantime, the local animal shelter is caught in the middle and running low on funds. 
 
Both sides are pointing fingers.
 
“We actually had a photo op set up and they didn’t show up,” Mayor Mike Moore said. “I’ve left messages for them, they won’t return my phone calls.”
 
But, Commissioner Rick Stephenson said that’s not at all true.
 
“We have tried working with the mayor and he wants to have no part of it,” Stephenson said.
 
So, there’s the standoff keeping an animal shelter from getting the money it needs. The JB Ogle Shelter takes in and cares for animals from all across Clark County. As part of an agreement drawn up in 1991, the county and all the towns that use the shelter pay for part of its budget based on population. But, that deal was only laid out through 1999. Regardless, all the parties continued to operate under it, until 2010 when the county stopped paying.
 
“The county owes us money,” Moore said. “And we’ve been patiently waiting.”
 
Moore said he had a deal with the commissioners. He claimed they agreed to pay this year’s tab and the past due amount, they agreed to terms, shook hands and then they stopped returning his calls.
 
Commissioner Rick Stephenson returned our phone call and had a completely different take, saying negotiations were at an impasse. Stephenson said the county is willing to pay this year’s bill for the shelter. But, he also said they are not willing to take on the previous debt, which he claims was passed on to them by none other than Mayor Mike Moore when he was a commissioner.
 
“So, the problem is not the fact that the county is refusing to pay, it’s the fact that Mayor Moore when he was a commissioner refused to pay,” Stephenson said. 
 
And Stephenson said there’s more. He claimed a position now held by a former mayor was even brought into the fight.
 
“As much as I hate to say it, he tried to threaten us. Jack, the commissioner with me and myself, with the fact that if we did not take Tom Galligan, the past mayor, off of the air board, he refused to do any dealings whatsoever with the county,” Stephenson said.
 
Moore said he never made a threat and he’s disappointed Stephenson would say that.
 
The mayor has issued a March 4 deadline for an agreement to be reached for shelter payments or the county will no longer be able to send animals there.
 
Stephenson said if it comes to that, he’s already got a contract with another kennel.

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