The town plans on extending its animal control officer's contract by at least one year and the Town Council has recommended increasing Avon's contribution to her pay by $2,200.
Canton has also agreed to the extension, Town Council Chairman Mark Zacchio wrote to Patch in an email.
Beverly LaPlume has been Avon's animal control officer for about seven years and her most recent contract is set to expire June 30. However, her agreement with the town allows for a one-year extension at the amount she's currently being paid, Avon Town Manager Brandon Robertson reported to the council in the agenda packet for the Feb. 7 meeting.
LaPlume, who the towns of Avon and Canton contract for animal control services, requested the raise because of the "amount of hours and training required to satisfactorily perform the responsibilities of the position," Robertson said. Her total contract for next year, once finalized, would include a 7 percent increase, or $3,780 combined, bringing the total Avon-Canton contract payout to $57,780 for the next fiscal year pending 2013-14 budget approval, according to Zacchio.
The total contract for animal control services in 2012-13 amounted to about $54,000, Zacchio said. That's a combined $4,500 a month from Avon and Canton, Robertson said. Avon pays 64 percent of it and Canton covers the remaining 36 percent, meaning about $34,560 for Avon and about $19,440 in the current fiscal year. If approved on next year's budget and the allocation for each town stays the same, Avon would pay about $36,979 and Canton would contribute about $20,801 for animal control services by that calculation.
As a contractor, LaPlume pays federal and state taxes on what she makes for animal control services "based on whatever her income situation is," Zacchio confirmed Wednesday.
Robertson stressed in an email to Patch Wednesday that the role of municipal animal control officer is a contracted position and that the contractor is not a town employee.
"The Contractor does not receive a salary and does not receive over time. The Contractor is responsible for any tax liability – not the Town," Robertson wrote in an email to Patch.
As part of LaPlume's agreement with Avon and Canton as animal control contractor, she is required "to respond to calls between 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, including holidays," Robertson wrote to Patch in an email Wednesday. The present contract "anticipated an average workweek of 20-30 hours," Robertson said.
"In reality-more time is required to adequately perform the duties of the position," Robertson said.
The town plans "to issue a request for proposals in the fall," meaning the town will review different bids for the position, Robertson said.
"Going to RFP is required for any new contract, and yes, assuming Beverly wants to do it again, her bid will be in the running," Zacchio said. "She has an excellent reputation with both towns, does an extremely good job and has been a great asset for us."
Editor's Note: This story was updated on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 4:03 p.m. to add updated information from Town Manager Brandon Robertson.