County Board OKs Humane Society Contract

At its Feb. 15, 2012 meeting, the Washtenaw County board of commissioners approved a $415,000 contract with the Humane Society of Huron Valley that will provide animal control services for the county just through Dec. 31, 2012. The county’s previous contract with HSHV, for $500,000 annually, expired on Dec. 31, 2011. Since then, the two entities have been operating under a $29,000 month-by-month contract.

County officials say the new contract will provide time for ongoing talks to develop a longer-term solution to animal control services in Washtenaw County, including services that are mandated by the state. During the rest of 2012, the county will work with HSHV to determine the cost of an animal service unit, and eventually will issue a request for proposals (RFP) to solicit bids for the next contract.

A work group, led by the sheriff, is tasked with determining the cost of animal control services. The work group will involve other jurisdictions in the county that have animal control ordinances – like the city of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Township – but that do not currently make financial contributions to the county’s animal control services. The board plans to appoint commissioner Rob Turner as a liaison to the work group. The group will present a report to the board by Sept. 15 that recommends a final cost methodology and animal control services budget for 2013, based on an agreed-upon scope of services.

In an amendment to the resolution that was proposed from the floor, the board also created a separate task force to develop an animal control policy for the county. The policy will be used to guide the scope of services for the RFP. Meetings of the task force will be open to the public and to any commissioner who wants to participate. The task force will submit a preliminary report to the board by May 15, with a final report due by Oct. 15.

The budget approved by the county board for 2012 cut funding for animal control services to $250,000, although during last year’s budget deliberations commissioners also discussed the possibility of paying an additional $180,000 to HSHV – if the nonprofit took over work previously done by the county’s animal control officers. That brought the total amount budgeted for animal control services to $430,000 in 2012. HSHV officials have said that even $500,000 wasn’t sufficient to cover costs for all the work they do.

The new $415,000 contract approved on Feb. 15 does not include the $180,000 that the county has budgeted for its own animal control officers. Instead, the board is allocating an additional $165,000 from its general fund balance, to be added to the previously budgeted $250,000 for animal control services in 2012.

This brief was filed from the boardroom of the county administration building, 220 N. Main St. in Ann Arbor. A more detailed report will follow: [link]