A waste of taxpayers’ money
To the Editor,
Do any of you know what the figure $88,000 represents? This is the amount of money the Hancock County Commission offered the Foundation if they signed a contract to operate the Hancock County Animal Shelter for the current fiscal year. Adding the $100,00 in excess levy money, the total county expenditure for operating the county animal shelter would have been $188,000.
Second question. What does the figure $248,683 represent? This is the amount of taxpayer dollars the Commission has spent at the Animal Shelter as of the end of February. Again, this amount has been spent in only eight months, not the entire fiscal year.
At this spending rate, they will spend $330,750 from the County General Fund. Adding in the $100,000 Excess Levy money being spent, this means the Commission’s cost to operate the shelter for the current fiscal year will be about $431,000.
Simply stated, this means if the Commission had negotiated a new contract with the nonprofit that had operated the animal shelter for the past 25 years, the taxpayers of Hancock County would have only paid $188,000 to operate the shelter for the entire year, compared to the forecasted Commission’s expense of $431,000.
As a taxpayer, we must ask the following question, What are we getting for the additional $243,00 tax dollars the commissioners will spend at the shelter?
• We know the shelter has quit offering “community low cost spay/neuter clinics.” This vital community service was offered by the previous shelter operator.
• We know the shelter has reduced veterinarian services to the animals and doubled the animal death rate at the shelter. Monthly veterinarian invoices have gone from $2,000 to $3,000 when the Commission began operating the shelter in July to $123 in February. Also, the animal death rate at the shelter has gone from 5 percent to over 10 percent since the Commission takeover.
• We are not aware of any new implemented community animal services.
The citizens of Hancock County would like to see the Commissioners rebid the operation of the animal shelter to an animal welfare nonprofit. This would save the taxpayers over $200,000 each year and provide a shelter staff with only one purpose, to provide humane care to the stray animals of Hancock County.
This is what the taxpayers’ expected when they approved the Excess Levy last May by 72.5 percent.