Kirtland council faces decision about animal shelter contract

Aztec, Farmington shelters offer different prices

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
A dog named Chevy waits to be adopted March 26 at the Aztec Animal Shelter. Kirtland officials are trying to decide whether to contract with Aztec or Farmington for animal shelter services.
  • The Kirtland Town Council has begun discussions about the town's budget.
  • Aztec charges about $60 less per animal to shelter pets than the Farmington shelter.
  • Kirtland officials likely will make a decision about animal control during their next council meeting.

KIRTLAND — Kirtland officials face a difficult decision when it comes to contracting with one of the two animal shelters in San Juan County as the location where the town's residents can drop off stray animals.

The city is trying to decide whether to pay the Aztec Animal Shelter $127.17 for each stray a Kirtland resident drops off or paying nearly $60 more per animal to the Farmington Regional Animal Shelter for that same service.

Mayor Mark Duncan said during Tuesday's Town Council meeting he prefers Aztec's price. But he is concerned that Kirtland residents who would be turned away at the Farmington shelter would just drive a couple of blocks and let the stray animal out of the car.

“Then it’s going to be Farmington’s problem, and that’s not fair,” Duncan said.

Farmington initially told Kirtland it would have to pay about $25,000 to shelter more than 130 animals that were believed to have been brought to the shelter by Kirtland residents last year. But Kirtland leaders questioned that number, citing the fact that there are only 168 households inside the town limits.

Kirtland Councilor Pete Emery said he met with Farmington Parks Recreation and Cultural Affairs director Cory Styron to discuss the figures. Emery said Farmington revised that total by eliminating the animals that came from incomplete addresses or that could be from areas that people consider part of Kirtland, although they are not within the town limits.

When Kirtland was incorporated as a municipality in 2015, only a small section of the community was included in the Kirtland town limits.

Mayor Mark Duncan fears that if the Kirtland Town Council agrees to make the Aztec Animal Shelter its designated drop-off site for Kirtland residents with stray animals, many of those residents will simply abandon the animals in Farmington.

Emery said after those revisions were made, there were only 24 animals from within Kirtland town limits taken to the Farmington Regional Animal Shelter last year.

He said Styron told him Kirtland would pay a little more than $4,000 for sheltering animals in Farmington based on last year’s number. He said it would cost about $1,000 less to contract with the city of Aztec for that service.

Kirtland officials likely will make a decision about animal control during the next council meeting.

In addition to discussing animal control, the Town Council began discussion about the fiscal year 2019 budget. Some of the large projects include signs for streets and paying into funds to pipe the Farmers Mutual Ditch and to the Valley Water and Sanitation District. The town is working with the Valley Water and Sanitation District to connect residents to a sewer system. Most residents of the town now rely on septic tanks.

The town has also budgeted $250,000 to work on its new town park.

Kirtland also heard its fiscal year 2017 audit report. The independent auditor did not find any problems. According to the report, the town took in $81,000 more in revenue in fiscal year 2017 than it spent.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at