171103_HUMANE05

The Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin and the city of Janesville are working out the details of a 3-year agreement for the group to continue providing animal control services for the city.

Anthony Wahl

JANESVILLE

After months wondering if it would receive 2018 funding from the city, the Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin is getting a better deal than it originally had hoped.

The humane society and city on Friday were working through a three-year contract for the humane society to provide Janesville’s animal control services for $125,000 each year. That’s the same amount the city has paid annually for the same services since 2014.

Humane society executive director Brett Frazier said he’s happy the humane society knows it has guaranteed income from the city through at least 2020. Previous contracts with the city had been for only one year.

A three-year contract will help the humane society make long-term plans for its resources, staff, workload and upcoming new facility, Frazier said.

“In that sense, it is very good to know what task we have ahead of us for the next three years,” he said.

The humane society’s original proposal was a three-year contract with 3 percent increases in 2019 and 2020.

Under that proposal, the 2020 contract would cost more than $132,000.

The city countered by agreeing to the three-year contract but at a flat annual fee of $125,000, “which I think will work for us, so long as we got the three-year contract,” Frazier said.

As of Friday, the city was waiting for the humane society to review and sign off on the contract, which Frazier indicated it would.

The humane society kept its annual fee at $125,000 because it promised to keep animal control services affordable, but that doesn’t mean costs don’t change, Frazier said.

The humane society proposed the 3 percent increases to compensate for inflation. Without the increases, the humane society will have to get that money from elsewhere, such as fundraising and additional adoptions, Frazier said.

“We’re doing more, it costs more, except we’re not charging anyone more,” he said.

Police Chief Dave Moore, who helped negotiate the contract, said city council approval isn’t required to enter into a multi-year contract. The police department agrees to other long-term contracts, Moore said.

The debate over animal control costs started in August, when city officials recommended the council cut animal control spending to $62,500 to help the city affording hiring an additional police officer. Later, the city learned it would receive an extra $583,000 in 2018 from the state to hire police officers and firefighters.

After an outcry from the humane society and residents, the council decided to allocate the full $125,000 toward animal control.

Instead of contracting with the humane society, the city issued a request for proposals to see if other groups were interested in providing animal control services. Only the humane society responded.

The contract allows residents and Janesville police officers to drop off recovered stray or lost pets or animals at no additional cost. The humane society works to reunite pets with owners and have strays adopted.

About 1,000 animals the humane society cares for each year come from Janesville. That’s about 40 percent of the strays and 25 percent of all animals the humane society takes in annually.

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