Hanceville PD to end K-9 program

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Members of the Hanceville City Council are seen at Thursday night’s meeting. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – The Hanceville Police Department (HPD) has decided to end its K-9 program and asked the Hanceville City Council Thursday night to allow the two K-9 officers to be surplussed. The council approved the surplus but did so in a manner that will allow the dogs to live out their lives with their handlers to whom they are bonded.

Hanceville Police Chief Bob Long explained, “Basically, it’s just not cost-effective. We aren’t making as many cases as we would like and we have to, and to keep the dogs, even though we have those who donate to us locally and our local vet, the kennel time stuff that you have to pay the officer, which is usually the OT (overtime) rate, it costs us a little over $10,000 a year. I think it would just be best to cut out the program.”

The two HPD K-9s were donated to the department, with the first dog donated with the understanding that the dog would go with the handler once the dog was retired or if its handler left the department.

The second dog did not come with the same agreement, but, Long said, “Typically, when you do something like this, the handler and the dog have bonded for a few years and so it’s pretty much in the animal’s best interest to let him go with the handler and that’s what we would like to do at this time.”

Hanceville’s senior center project will be rebid after Mayor Kenneth Nail discussed the project with Terry Acuff, grant consultant with Community Consultants.

Said Nail, “There’s been so many changes and taking things off the plans. He felt like because of the way over 10% change, that we need to reject that bid and rebid the senior center.”

Nail estimated that more than $100,000 in goods and services have been donated toward the project, causing significant changes to the original bid.

The Commercial Street repaving project has been awarded to Wiregrass Construction out of Guntersville in the amount of $319,884.06. The project will include tearing out curbs and gutters from Church Street to the Lutheran church, followed by repaving from Church Street to Self Avenue.

Nail said, “It will not have the gutter and curb. It will have what’s called a valley gutter.”

The City of Hanceville was hit with a large bill from the Municipal Workers Compensation Fund. The invoice for $138,813 is a 68% increase over the previous year’s bill.

“The last couple of years we had a couple of pretty serious accidents,” said Nail, “and it’s probably caught up to us.”

The council agreed to pay the bill and granted Nail authorization to negotiate with local banks to open a line of credit of $500,000 at the best rate available. The line of credit will be a safety net when unexpected expenses and emergencies arise. The budget was also amended to show the $52,000 approved for the workers compensation invoice.

Crews from Hanceville have been traveling each day to assist their neighbors to the south in Fultondale after the devastating tornado Monday night.

Nail said to the council, “I appreciate your support in doing that. I’ve not seen a negative comment about us doing that. I think it’s not just a good thing, I think it’s our duty.”

The next Hanceville City Council meeting will be Feb. 11 at 5:30 p.m. with the work session at 5.

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