Town mulls sharing its animal control officer

BRATTLEBORO — Town Manager Peter Elwell noted in his remarks before the Selectboard last week that staff have discussed sharing animal control services with neighboring towns.

Elwell said at the Sept. 29 meeting that he had met with the Windham Regional Commission (WRC) and the Windham County Humane Society (WRHS) to discuss animal-control related issues.

Smaller communities struggle with finding enough volunteers or funds to employ an Animal Control Officer (ACO), he said.

Brattleboro is fortunate that it has an ACO. The WRC, WCHS, and Elwell discussed the possibility of Brattleboro helping to provide ACO services to towns nearby or other ways to help.

Elwell said the first conversation went well. What needs ironing out is how the town would balance its needs while helping its neighbors.

This collaboration could help develop a model to share other services or find efficiencies between town governments, Elwell said.

Finding efficiencies and sharing resources in general is not a new discussion in Windham County. Wilmington and Dover launched the Bi-Town Economic Group approximately five years ago. The initiative aimed, in part, to combine the towns' economic development efforts and save money through bulk purchasing.

In a document prepared in the early days of the Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies, the writers commented on how the lack of a county government meant that towns often duplicated services and costs that could be shared.

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