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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Double Taxation ...

Here is the latest article in the Canyon County Animal Shelter ridiculousness. Why the residents of the cities of Caldwell and Middleton aren't up in arms over this is beyond me.  I guess they like paying twice.

Can someone please tell me where the dog owner's responsibility comes in here?  When the owner comes to pick up the dog after it's been picked up and brought to the shelter, why does the owner get a discounted rabies vaccination so the rest of the county ... and apparently now the individual cities ... can foot the rest of the bill????  Where is the logic in all of this?  And why are we vetting strays instead of euthanizing them at the cost of ... oh ... a few cents for the drugs ... within 24 hours of being brought into the shelter -- unless they're licensed?  I'll bet that would encourage people to license their dogs, or microchip them, or something.  And then they can foot the bill themselves.

Sheriff addresses talk of shelter cuts

Posted: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 12:15 am
CANYON COUNTY — Canyon County Sheriff Chris Smith plans to hand a letter to commissioners this week enumerating the problems the sheriff’s office could face if county funding to the animal shelter goes away.

Commissioners plan to make deep cuts to the tax-supported shelter as part of their attempt to trim the budget for the coming fiscal year amid shrinking revenues. Commissioner Steve Rule told the Idaho Press-Tribune Monday that attorneys have been asked to prepare a request for proposals seeking an outside agency or private party to run the shelter.

That has shelter officials concerned about the kind of impact such an action would have on the community.

The sheriff’s letter raises concerns about how the county will continue to handle seizing and impounding stray and unlicensed dogs. If funding were cut or a private party took over management of the shelter, there are still animal control tasks that the state requires a county sheriff’s office to do.
Cities would be responsible for their own animal control.

The shelter costs about $1.2 million a year to run, but only generates about $300,000 in revenue, leaving the remaining $900,000 for the county to pay for.

The sheriff’s office and commissioners “took a hard look at it last year, and we invited the Idaho Humane Society to look at it — tried to negotiate a deal for them to take them over,” Rule said.
Now, Rule said, “If we’re serious about this, (we need to) put out a request for proposals and see who is willing to take it over and manage it.”

“What we’re really trying to do is match revenue with the costs,” Canyon County Commissioner David Ferdinand said Tuesday. “That’s why we’re looking for some private supplier. ... We really need to see what’s out there and see what’s available.”

Rule said he is serious about closing the shelter if private management efforts fall through.
“Somehow we’ve got to cut budget dollars,” Rule said. “This is an obvious way to get rid of several thousand dollars of tax burden for all of Canyon County.”

Commissioner Kathy Alder could not be reached for comment Monday or Tuesday.

Shelter seeks self-sufficiency

Sheltering the cats and dogs — providing them with housing, food and medical care — makes up the bulk of the time and expense of running the shelter, director Lt. Bill Adams said. That, along with animal control, is included in the services the shelter currently provides to cities.

With the exception of Nampa, cities contract with the county for the services, but those annual payments only cover a portion of operating costs —  $89,000 per year from Caldwell and $7,867 from Middleton, for example.

Nampa brings in approximately 43 percent of approximately 10,000 animals a year, Adams said. If Nampa contributed financially for its use of the shelter, that would help resolve the excess expense, Adams said. But Nampa officials contend that that is double taxation because county tax dollars already support the shelter.

The shelter will continue to look for support from the community to make the shelter “work on its own,” Adams said.

“I think we could get really close if we had every (city) contributing equally and made some more changes. It would take a huge burden off the taxpayer,” he said. “I would like to see the shelter have the opportunity to become self-sufficient and see that all who use the shelter contribute equally.”

Shelter has already taken cuts

The shelter has already increased its fees and taken cost-cutting measures in an attempt to become self-sufficient, director Lt. Bill Adams said.

“We’re under-budget, we’re not wasting the money we have,” Adams said.

Thousands of dollars have been saved already by operating with fewer staff members, changing dog food vendors and switching to different cleaning products, he said.

Low-cost spay and neuter reduce the intake population, which ultimately lowers costs, and aggressive enforcement of unsterilized dog impound fees and licensing fees has raised revenue by about $10,000 compared to the same six-month period last year, he added.

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