“I’m glad we got it resolved,” Wallace said immediately following Monday night’s council meeting.
After rejecting another city contract proposal, the ASPCI Board of Directors worked through the weekend to offer a revised contract to the city, and the council found the contract acceptable.
“It’s all about taking care of the animals,” Wallace said.
She vowed better communication between ASPCI and the city.
“Both sides must communicate,” Wallace said.
ASPCI and the city have been back-and-forth in contract negotiations.
Initially city officials asked for an audit, a copy of ASPCI standard operating procedures and wanted ASPCI to open all their meetings to the public.
Mayor Joe Funderburg was most vocal about ASPCI being more transparent, and he reiterated again Monday night that the city did not want to get into the animal shelter business.
Funderburg said the city was prepared to take over and run the shelter if necessary, but it appears the council believes ASPCI has made an earnest effort to adhere to city requests.
Wallace told the council ASPCI will provide weekly, not monthly reports, about the disposition of animals brought to the shelter from the city, and whether homes were found for those animals or they were euthanized.
“I think what we are all looking for is openness,” Councilman Jay Jenkins told the 30 or so ASPCI supporters who attended last night’s meeting.
Jenkins said he still doesn’t understand why the ASPCI board wouldn’t want to have its meetings open to the public.
“I think it is so important we have a good working relationship with any entity we give money to,” he said, adding that city officials should be able to get their questions answered when they call. “…Hopefully we can start this over with new cooperation with each other.”
ASPCI Attorney Ericka Elzey said the ASPIC Board of Directors did not want to adhere to the Alabama State Open Meetings Law because members were afraid it would be too burdensome
“They do so much informally,” Elzey said.
In accordance with the revised contract, ASPCI is only required to open its quarterly board meetings to the general public.
Since ASPCI is a non-profit corporation it does not have to adhere to the state’s open meetings law, but city officials said they considered ASPCI as a quasi-government agency that is using a government, not private, facility.
City officials have also said ASPCI needed to open its meetings to the public because it receives public funds and tax dollars, and city officials must be accountable to the public that helps funds the animal shelter.
“This has been an emotional thing for me,” Councilman Terry Templin said, adding that he and his wife have been long-time supporters of ASPCI.
Templin said there were unnecessary remarks and misinformation posted on Facebook in recent days.
The new contract provides an increase in funding for ASPCI. The city will pay ASPCI $35,000 a year to maintain and operate the animal shelter.
The city will lease the animal shelter to ASPCI for $100 a year.
In accordance with the contract, “the City, its agents, employees or designees will follow ASPCI’s Standard Operating Procedures regarding the animal control intake process.”
In accordance with the contract, ASPCI will provide the city with a financial report for the preceding fiscal year.
“ASPCI further agrees to respond to any reasonable request for such reports, documents, or other information as shall be maintained in ASPCI’s regular course of business,” the contract states.
City Attorney John Rea said the contract will automatically renew after one year, unless a 60-day written notice of cancellation is made by either party.