While it was stated by Cherokee Village Alderman Peter Martin that the Spring River Animal Shelter went from a $20,000 a year project to a $70,000 a year expense, this was a quote made not of factual numbers, but exaggerated ones.
Yes the expense of the animal shelter has increased since the beginning stages, but so have many other things. For 2009, the city approved a budget of $61,885 for the animal shelter. That number does not include the projected income the city expects the shelter to receive in donations and volunteer hours.
Based on the donations taken in throughout 2008, the projected income of the shelter is $19,500 for 2009. The projected income includes donations, adoption fees, licensing fees and among other things boarding fees. Also included in that figure is the $5,000 contract fee for Ozark Acres.
In 2008, the shelter took in $23,291 in adoption fees alone. Martin said the project started out as a $20,000 per year project, the shelter did not open until April 2008 and the budget was the same as 2009.
According to Helga Lange, a shelter employee, when Shorlynn Morris took over as animal control officer the shelter was in the hole $30,000, at the end of the year the shelter was under budget $3,000.
The shelter only employs one person through the city which is Morris. She is expected to have time to patrol the city, follow up on calls, issue tickets, maintain the kennels and keep the facility clean all on a $19,000 salary.
Granted, the shelter does have several volunteers who do some of the duties, but they cannot be expected to run the shelter with no pay. And only three and a half months into the year the shelter has taken in $688 worth of donations.
Now, on the other side, Martin, among others, feel the shelter houses too many animals causing their budget to be inflated more than he thinks it should be. He also argues that the animals in the shelter cannot all be from Cherokee Village.
During the last special meeting held, Martin stated that Morris is not doing the job she was hired to do and that she is not out patrolling the city to service the residents, as intended when the shelter was developed.
Martin suggested allowing the shelter to exist at its current location and find a new location strictly for an animal control in Cherokee Village. He said since the shelter has volunteers and donations, they should be able to exist as a nonprofit organization.
During the special meeting held in March, on the subject the council was presented with several scenarios in which the shelter could continue to exist. Some of the scenarios included a shorter hold date and higher kill rate, which in turn, would lose volunteers as well as donations.
In ending the meeting, Cherokee Village Mayor Lloyd Hefley said he feels the shelter needs to continue to exist in a humane manor. He advised the council to think of ways to fund the shelter.
The next special meeting will be held at Cherokee Village City Hall April 20 at 6:30 p.m. While the shelter would like for all who support their cause to attend and voice their ideas and opinions, the council would like all to attend, even those who do not support the shelter.