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Queensbury meeting

Jim Fitzgerald of Warren County SPCA speaks recently at a packed Queensbury Town Board meeting on which SPCA should be hired by the town. The town made the decision to go with SPCA of Upstate New York.

Kathleen Moore, kmoore@poststar.com

QUEENSBURY — The SPCA of Upstate New York will respond Wednesday to the many complaints about its services.

The Town Board has scheduled a workshop for 4 p.m. Wednesday in the supervisor’s conference room. The meeting is open to the public, but there is only space for about a dozen spectators in the room. The SPCA discussion is scheduled to begin at approximately 4:20 p.m.

The larger town meeting room, which is used for regular board meetings, was already reserved by the Queensbury Senior Center for that time, so it can’t be used, board member Tony Metivier said.

Residents packed the larger room over this topic last week, and some of them specifically requested that the board meet again in that room to accommodate everyone who might want to attend.

At issue is whether to hire SPCA of Upstate New York or to renew a contract with Warren County SPCA. Both agencies submitted proposals in response to a request from the town.

SPCA of Upstate New York proposed a limited contract for $60,000. Warren County SPCA, which has a larger portfolio of services, proposed $165,000.

Supervisor John Strough wanted to pay for a small suite of services — just loose dog control, rabies vaccinations and dog licensing, which are all that is required of the town. Warren County SPCA does far more, but offered to negotiate and provide fewer services. The board instead decided in a workshop meeting to move forward with SPCA of Upstate New York.

But at the meeting at which the board was going to vote on the contract, more than 40 people turned out to urge the board to reconsider.

Residents of Glens Falls, which already contracts with Upstate, described calls that went unanswered for days.

Even representatives from the Sheriff’s Office came to tell the Town Board that Warren County SPCA was the better choice.

Officials from Upstate declined to respond to the complaints at the meeting. The board decided to set up a workshop instead, giving Upstate’s officials time to collect information and plan out a response. Board members also said they did not want Upstate officials to be heckled by an unfriendly audience.

The board is not expected to vote at the workshop, and there is no privilege of the floor or other time at which the public can speak. The agenda describes the meeting as an “informational and discussion meeting” with SPCA of Upstate New York.

You can reach Kathleen Moore at 742-3247 or kmoore@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @ByKathleenMoore or at her blog on www.poststar.com.

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