I am pleased to announce that on June 5, 2012 the County Board of Supervisors approved a three-year Animal Services contract with the Marin Humane Society (MHS). The $3 million contract renewal through a Joint Powers Agency (JPA) does not have any increased revenue for MHS. The new flat agreement is both fiscally responsible while allowing MHS to maintain a high level of animal services for the Marin community, including licensing and pet identification, pick up and transportation of stray animals, follow-up on resident complaints, inspection and licensing of commercial animal establishments and exhibits, disaster response, enforcement of all animal ordinances, and response to animal emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
We worked hard to address the economic limitations of the County and the participating Marin cities and towns while maintaining the level of Animal Services that Marin residents, and animals, need and expect. Over the past two fiscal years, MHS had agreed to forego scheduled contract increases totaling 6.5%. We took prudent steps during the months-long contract negotiation process to reduce costs in a way that would be least impactful for its staff and the public. A reduction in customer service phone operators one day a week (Mondays) represents the most significant cutbacks to services. While the 24/7 emergency line will remain open, response time for non-emergency requests on Mondays will be delayed a minimum of 24 hours.
For the first time since 2009, the County has also agreed to modest fee increases for dog licenses, dead animal removal, boarding fees for impounded animals, potentially dangerous, vicious dog permits, hobbyists, exhibitors and stray livestock charges. The total expected fee schedule is anticipated to bring an estimated $29,000 additional dollars for the County and $71,000 for the Marin cities/towns. These fees are collected by MHS and remitted to the County.
The Marin Humane Society operates on a $6 million budget, with more than half of its funds dependent upon charitable giving to support community programs like adoptions, Pet Partnership, behavior & training, humane education, foster care, SHARE (Special Human-Animal Relationships), veterinary services, and more. In addition, for many years MHS has subsidized at least 10 percent of the $3 million animal services contract in an effort to establish itself as a true partner with local jurisdictions. The county’s share of the cost for the animal services contract is 30 percent, while Marin’s municipalities contribute 60 percent based on a formula that accounts for population and services calls.
A three decades long history of collaboration and cooperation between MHS and the County has resulted in cost-effective and streamlined community animal services. In fact, Marin is considered a role model by other jurisdictions throughout the country of how excellence in animal services can be achieved. We look forward to continuing to serve our community.
On behalf of the animals,
Nancy B. McKenney
Chief Executive Officer
County Oks $3 million animal control contract with the Marin Humane Society
Marin Independent Journal: June 5, 2012