To the Editor,
In 2016, the Hancock County Commission offered a nonprofit that had operated their county animal shelter $88,000 from the county’s “general account” to operate the shelter for fiscal year 2017. Combined with the $100,000 annual Animal Shelter Excess Levy, the nonprofit would receive $188,000 in taxpayer funds to operate the shelter. The nonprofit agreed. However, the commissioners also mandated changes to the shelter operation contract so detrimental to the welfare of the animals, the nonprofit would not sign the modified contract. The result was the commissioners removing the nonprofit and taking over operation of the shelter.
July 1 of this year marked the fourth anniversary of the commissioners operating the shelter. Remember, the commissioners promised to operate the shelter “BETTER” than the nonprofit when they took over operation of the shelter. Current Commission President Joe Barnabei and Commissioner Jeff Davis were part of this decision. After four years, how have they done?
In the past four years, the commissioners spent over an additional $1,000,000 beyond the annual $188,000 offered to the previous nonprofit at the animal shelter. Yes, Commission President Joe Barnabei, Commissioner Jeff Davis and new Commissioner Paul Cowey have spent an additional $1,000,000 at the animal shelter for similar services provided by a nonprofit.
More importantly, the animal death rate at the shelter is greater than the death rate the last year the nonprofit operated the shelter.
As you write a check to pay your county taxes this year, remember the decision made by Commissioner Joe Barnabei and Commissioner Jeff Davis and ask yourself “How much am I paying for the bad decision Joe Barnabei and Jeff Davis made four years ago?”