Maclean proposal for assuming some city animal services on commission agenda again
The City Commission will again discuss the proposal from the Maclean Cameron Animal Adoption Center during their July 21 work session.
During the July 7 work session, City Manager Greg Doyon told commissioners that he had spoken to a Maclean representative that day and they asked to do an additional presentation. Doyon said he was unsure if the presentation involved new information and that he had planned to ask the commission to take action on the Maclean proposal during the July 21 meeting.
Doyon said if the Maclean presents a proposal different from the original RFP, he’d be concerned.
During the June 2 commission work session, Maclean Board President Libbey Winderl walked commissioners through Maclean’s issued with city staff’s assessment of the Maclean proposal to assume some animal services from the city.
She said some public comments about the discussions about Maclean had been unfair and uniformed.
“We’re not here today to nurse old grievances,” Winderl said.
She said that Maclean’s proposal would save the city money, but city staff and some commissioners said that wasn’t clear from their proposal.
“We can’t project what the city’s budget will look like if it’s services are reduced as proposed,” Winderl said in the June 2 work session.
In the proposal, Maclean states that if the city shelter were to close, they could provide animal adoption services under a $475,000 service contract. The Maclean proposal states it would not accept any animals other than cats and dogs nor take responsibility for the intake of strays or animal control, or cremation services.
City staff determined that it spends $129,000 on adoption services.
Winderl said she thought there was information missing from the city’s calculation.
Deputy City Manager Chuck Anderson said that figure was calculated using the average number of animals, average length of stay with the pay for kennel techs and other associated costs, but doesn’t include the cost of some other shelter staff.
It’s the cost of adoption services on average between 2016-2018, Anderson said.
Commissioner Mary Moe, who with Commissioner Owen Robinson has pushed the city to consider a partnership of some sort in the interest of saving money, said she wanted to hear that the city would be spending less to contract out for adoption services “and I have not heard that.”
As presented so far, Maclean is proposing to assume animal adoption services, but not take over animal control responsibilities, which the city is legally obligated to provide.
The city shelter takes in strays from law enforcement and the public and is required, by state law, to hold them for 96 hours. During the June 2 work session, there was discussion about sending those animals to Maclean after the 96 hour hold period, but staff estimates that the cost of that 96-hour hold for the number of animals typically coming through annually is $491,000.
Lynn Formell, shelter manager, told commissioners that was the figure based on holding animals for the required 96 hours, but many stay longer waiting for adoption and some are held because they’re part of court cases.
Winderl and Pam Volk of Maclean expressed frustration with getting an email on the Monday evening before the June 2 meeting with additional information that had been shared between city staff and a commissioner, but not the Maclean to be able to address the questions. They said they want more information from the city on the shelter’s operational costs.
Commissioner Rick Tryon said that he would need to clearly see a cost savings for the city in Maclean’s proposal.
“I haven’t seen that,” he said. “It’s easy to say you’re going to have substantial savings if you go with our proposal.”
Tryon asked during the June 2 meeting if the commission was going to come to a point that they would vote on the RFP.
Mayor Bob Kelly responded, “I think we’re far away from that.”