Animal Shelter Director Proposes Funding Figure for FY 2015

Toccoa-Stephens County Humane Shelter Director Jeff Roberts said he will ask the city of Toccoa and Stephens County for a total of about $452,000 for the next fiscal year.

Roberts presented that proposed figure to the Humane Shelter Board at its meeting Monday at Toccoa City Hall.

Roberts’ proposed figure would call for the city and county to each provide about $226,000 in funding for the new fiscal year starting July 1.

That figure includes both funding for the shelter and animal control.

He said that figure of about $452,000 is less than what is being spent in this current fiscal year.

“My proposed budget is just about $50,000 less than (last year) on a combined basis,” said Roberts. “There is a lot of one-time charges. There were several months they did not have a paid director in there so that increases numbers and I have asked the city and county to fund health insurance for the employees, which would just put them (shelter employees) on the same level city and county employees are.”

Roberts said one area where the budget has been cut is by going from two animal control officers to one.

“When additional help is needed, I will have shelter personnel assist the animal control department,” said Roberts. “Since the prior officers always rode together, having just one vehicle on the road is not a change from what we did in the past, but I think we can be more efficient in just having the one officer and, as needed, filling in on other calls we have.”

Roberts said that the shelter is also trying to cut costs by delaying some of the work and medication on stray animals until the stray hold period is up to see if the animal is claimed and by continuing to buy certain things that are needed in bulk at promotional prices.

At last month’s shelter board meeting, as well as at a joint meeting of the Toccoa City and Stephens County Commissioners earlier this year, the Toccoa-Stephens County Humane Shelter budget was compared to the budget of the Northeast Georgia Animal Shelter in Lavonia.

The Northeast Georgia Animal Shelter budget is less than $200,000 per year.

Roberts said there are significant differences in the two shelter operations.

“Quite a bit of it is the size of the facility and the number of animals that are held and caging that we have,” said Roberts. “There is a lot more involved in cleaning and maintaining and sanitizing the facility. Also, we do considerably more in our medical care. We test for feline leukemia, feline AIDS, heartworm in dogs. We provide flea preventative. We provide heartworm preventative. We do a lot more medically in our shelter.”

Roberts said he understands the financial situation for both the city and county and will work with whatever funding level the county and city provide. However, he did say that if the funding level is significantly less, that would mean a reduction in services the shelter could provide.