ASPCI officials have repeatedly said the fees were based on city populations.
According to the proposed ASPCI agreement with the city of Riverside, the fee amount is based on the 2010 U.S. Census population of 2,208 residents, “with the shelter services provided at the rate of $2 per resident per year.”
According to the 2010 U.S. Census numbers for Pell City, there were 12,695 residents living in Pell City, which at a $2 per resident rate charge would amount to $25,390, not $35,000.
In addition to the fee, the city is required to provide in-kind services of the building and grounds maintenance.
“It is understood and agreed that all costs associated with the maintenance of the animal shelter building and building systems shall be the sole responsibility of the city of Pell City, and the city of Pell City shall indemnify and hold ASPCI harmless for such costs,” the proposed contract states.
In accordance with the proposed contract, the city will also provide monthly pest control and water usage at the facility, in addition to gasoline for all ASPCI vehicles.
Barbara Wallace, president of the ASPCI Board of Directors, said the ASPCI pays for all utilities except for water.
City Manager Patrick Draper said he doesn’t understand why Pell City is charged a higher fee per resident than the neighboring city of Riverside, because Pell City provides the use of a city facility and property, in-kind services and pays for other shelter expenses.
“We should pay less,” he said.
Wallace said Riverside’s rate is calculated differently than Pell City’s because Riverside’s population is less than 5,000 residents.
Municipalities with populations of more than 5,000 people are required to have animal control services or contract animal control services.
Wallace said Riverside fees allow its residents to take animals to the shelter as “owner surrendered animals.”
She said Pell City’s fees are based on actual prorated shelter expenses, like what the St. Clair County Commission pays, because of higher population rates of more than 5,000 residents.
In a separate but adjoining proposed agreement, the city is also responsible to pay for its share of an annual audit for the nonprofit company. City officials insisted that the ASPCI have an annual audit since it receives public funds.
City officials said they must be accountable for all taxpayer funds.
“The estimated cost for an audit of 2014 is $10,000 and the city’s share is $1,624.81,” states the proposed agreement for the payment of a prorated share of an annual audit of ASPCI’s financial records.
“In no event will ASPCI be expected to pay for an audit of its financial record out of operating expenses previously mentioned in this contract,” the agreement for the care and disposal of animals states.
The ASPCI also requested that the city provide a commercial lease to ASPCI for the animal shelter at a rate of $100 per year to the non-profit company.
Section 7 of the ASPCI agreement is “totally unacceptable,” Mayor Joe Funderburg said.
Council members, along with the city attorney, concurred at Thursday’s council work session.
“… The city, its agents, employees or designees will follow ASPCI’s current Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) on animal intake and will not undertake to question, provide direction or make derogatory comments on the actions and decisions of ASPCI,” section 7 of the agreement states.
Funderburg said he spoke with Wallace Friday and told her they “were not on the same page.”
“This agreement is going nowhere as is,” Funderburg said Friday.
He reiterated that the city wants all ASPCI meetings open to the public, since the ASPCI receives public funds.
Wallace said the ASPCI is a nonprofit company and is not required to follow the state’s Open Meetings Act, but she said Friday that it is important the ASPCI keep the public informed about what the service provider is doing.
“We’re looking at what our options are,” she said.
Wallace said Friday’s meeting with Funderburg was productive.
“Anytime there are contract negotiations, things can get intense,” she said. “I do firmly believe we are going to be able to work through this.”
Contact David Atchison at email@example.com.