City continuing to explore options for animal care, staff developed draft request for proposal from Maclean

The city is continuing to gather information related to discussions about any potential partnership or other arrangement between the Great Falls Animal Shelter and the Maclean Cameron Animal Adoption Center.

During the Oct. 15 work session, City Manager Greg Doyon provided updated information from the city shelter, Maclean and Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter in Bozeman.

The version from the Oct. 1 work session is available here. The updated version will be added to the city website.

The city gathered data from Heart of the Valley since Commissioners Mary Moe and Owen Robinson visited that facility in April and suggested in meetings this year that its a model the city could potentially follow.

Doyon said the purpose is to compare and have good data for city staff, commissioners and the public to base discussion on about any possible consolidation.

He also provided a draft request for proposal to commissioners for their feedback.

Doyon has recommended that the city not use the competitive sealed bidding process due to the unique service requirements and the lack of service providers in the area.

Doyon is recommending that the city request a proposal from Maclean and in the draft, wrote “that a service contract may be awarded for a supply or service item without competition because there is only one source for the required supply or service item. However, the city will require the submission of cost or pricing data in connection with an award.”

The city attorney’s office disagrees with Doyon’s determination and asked commissioners to consider whether they’re comfortable with a noncompetitive bid process. They made no comment about it during the work session.

Doyon said that at first blush, the request may appear onerous, but it’s fairly open ended and will depend on what Maclean proposes.

But Doyon said before the city did anything like discontinue any services at the city shelter, they should make sure Maclean can provide that service and “I’m expecting that there’s going to be a cost to this.”

The request for proposal outline gives Maclean “the opportunity to present options for current city animal welfare services and operations as a complement to the Great Falls Animal Shelter. It is the ultimate goal of the City Commission to save money on the provision of animal welfare services. The commission desires to find ways of partnering with MCAAC, an existing facility so as not to duplicate animal services in Great Falls.”

In the draft request, Maclean would be asked to detail what specific service or services it is interested in providing to the city; the organization’s experience and capabilities; who would administer the contract and the complaint resolution process related to service concerns; a detailed proposed process for securing animals from the city shelter; and demonstrating their understanding of local, state, federal laws and guidelines relating to animal care.

Any proposal accepted by the city must contain approval of Maclean’s accounting system unless the cost for services is fixed, according to Doyon’s draft.

The draft request for proposals also asks for the methodology and cost for the services proposed; and the financial capability and stability of Maclean to provide the proposed services including budget information for the last five years.

The city can reject any proposal for any reason and “any information provided to the City of Great Falls is public information. Any proposal considered by the City Commission will be publicly discussed. Questions will arise during the course of that conversation that may require additional explanation, documentation or verification by MCAAC.”

As for process, Doyon suggests in his draft that if a proposal is received and a majority of commissioners are interested in the proposed concept, they would then direct staff to finalize the proposal in a formal agreement with Maclean.

The discussions of partnering, combining or some other arrangement with the city shelter and Maclean started again this year after Commissioner Owen Robinson announced in February that he wanted to explore a partnership and that Commissioner Mary Moe would work with him on that effort.

By July, those commissioners said during a work session that they had taken the exploratory effort as far as they could and directed staff to continue the effort.

The city shelter director and deputy city manager traveled to Heart of the Valley to learn more about that operation and gathered information from that facility, which is supported by multiple jurisdictions in the Bozeman area.

According to the chart Doyon shared with commissioners during the Oct. 15 meeting, the city shelter services 3,979 animals annually. Heart of the Valley services 3,500 and Maclean services 777. That means licensing, permits, microchipping, lots and found reported pets. It is not animals listed as intakes, according to the chart.

The annual animal intakes were 3,114 at Heart of the Valley; 1,406 for the city and 733 for Maclean.

Maclean and Heart of the Valley only take dogs and cats, but the city shelter has no intake restrictions.

The average daily population at Heart of the Valley is 185; at Maclean it’s 64 and at the city shelter it’s 148, according to the chart.

The annual budget for Heart of the Valley is $1.7 million with $1.07 in personnel costs at Heart of the Valley; $517,366 with $269,000 in personnel costs at Maclean and $694,160 with $478,390 in peronnel costs at the city shelter, according to the chart.

For background on the city’s discussion of Maclean, read our previous coverage:

Cattery project underway at city animal shelter

Odds and ends from the Aug. 6 commission meeting: storm damage, library fun run, dumpster explosion, Maclean update

Robinson, Moe: City should take over review of partnership options with Maclean

Update on city, Maclean foundation discussions on tonight’s work session agenda

Commission approves cattery contract; Maclean partnership discussions ongoing

City Commission rescinds April 2 action putting cattery contract on May 7 agenda

Cattery back on commission agenda for special meeting

Commission reverses course on cattery decision for city animal shelter

Cattery for city animal shelter likely to come up at April 16 meeting

Commission delays cattery decision to September, effectively rejecting bids

Cattery addition at city shelter up for commission vote this week

City again seeking bids for cattery addition at the Great Falls Animal Shelter