Archive for Friday, June 8, 2007

Proposal may ease city cuts

Agencies would get 4 percent less with Chestnut’s plan

June 8, 2007


Three questions with Midge Grinstead, Executive Director of the Lawrence Humane Society

Midge Grinstead, Executive Director of the Lawrence Humane Society, explains how the proposed budget cuts would impact the animal shelter. Enlarge video

Proposed budget cuts for social services reduced

Budget cuts to social service agencies like the Salvation Army and the Boys and Girls Club could hurt a little less than expected. Enlarge video

Proposed city budget cuts to social service agencies may not go as deep as originally planned.

Under a new proposal from Lawrence City Commissioner Rob Chestnut, two dozen agencies such as The Salvation Army and the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence would face 4 percent cuts in city funding instead of 6 percent.

"We're really talking about $50,000 to $75,000 as the difference between what I'm recommending and what the city is recommending," Chestnut said Friday.

Chestnut's proposal came as welcome news to Midge Grinstead, executive director of the Lawrence Humane Society. As the organization that receives the largest amount of city funding, the humane society expected to receive $267,000 in 2007. Under city staff's proposal to cut 6 percent, it would have lost $16,020.

"It's better for us," Grinstead said. "When you're talking about $16,000, that's a lot of money to overcome. That's a staff member. That's repairs or maintenance or buying a year's worth of Clorox or litter."

With Chestnut's plan to reduce funding by 4 percent, the humane society would lose about $10,700 this year, $5,000 less than feared.

Chestnut brought his idea forward after analyzing the proposed budget cuts and realizing most city departments faced 4 percent reductions.

"So, I thought it was really fair, then, to say that's really also what we ought to be asking the outside agencies to come up with," he said.

In addition, Chestnut suggests that the city hire a full-time auditor in the fall. Commissioners budgeted the new position to come on earlier this year, but to save money, staff recommended waiting until 2008 to fill it.

"I think it's a pretty essential position for us and will pay for itself very quickly," Chestnut said. "The quicker we get him on board, the more we can start looking more in-depth at a lot of things that are happening inside the city."

Commissioner Boog Highberger had recently expressed concerns about cutting funds for the social service agencies and said he finds Chestnut's proposal more reasonable than the 6 percent cuts.

"I'd still like to go over the agencies on a case-by-case basis. There are some I'd like to not cut at all, but I think this is a step in the right direction," Highberger said.

Highberger said he wants to avoid cutting programs that "provide a social safety net," such as Health Care Access Clinic and the WRAP program, run through Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center.

"I just don't feel good about going back on commitments for these outside agencies," he said.

Commissioner Mike Amyx said he supports the staff recommendation to cut social service agency funding by the full 6 percent but will consider Chestnut's proposal for smaller cuts.

"I want to make sure the proposal is fair and that we have covered our basic city services, like police, fire and public works," Amyx said.

The city is considering budget cuts because sales tax revenue could fall as much as $1.5 million below staff projections this year and commissioners don't want to raise property taxes or dip into fund balances.

The City Commission will consider Chestnut's proposal at its weekly meeting, which begins at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.


cowboy 11 years ago

spread rumors....the LHS holds onto animals a very long time unlike many pounds , if there is donated food that is finding its ay out of there it is probably due to expiration or outright theft. we have one of the best humane societies in the region and should be proud to suport it !

technonerd2 11 years ago

The thought of systematically murdering poor little defenseless innocent animals makes me sick to my stomach. Reminds me of what they did in concentration camps in WWII, except for animals. They should neuter/spade them to control the population and then release them and let them take their chances out in the wild.

missashleya2007 11 years ago

I dont believe the humane society should complain about fundings because if you are charging $90.00 to adopt an animal what if some people cant afford that? People are bringing their animals to the humane society for them to hopefully get a home, how can they charge so much for an animal not sold to them? I just think that if they did not charge so much for adoption it would be easier for people to adopt an animal and they probably would have room. I dont think its fair to charge so much for animals then once they are there for to long they are killed!!!! Why are you asking for food donations then killing the animals you feed it to? The animals should be free of charge and there wouldnt be such a conflirt, i know that i have went in there many times to try n get an animal, they charge to much, make you feel out an application. Im sorry but there is no need for that, if someone wants an animal you are stopping them from caring for one of the hopeless animals n the shelter that they are going to kill because parents would say no because it costs to much. TRY GIVING ANIMALS AWAY FOR FREE AND I THINK YOU WILL SEE A TURN AROUND!!!!!

tweetybird2 11 years ago

I have always heard the LHS referred to as a no kill facility. I think they only kill sick or mean dogs.

Sigmund 11 years ago

"The organization that receives the largest amount of city funding, the humane society expected to receive $267,000 in 2007." Nothing against the humane society, but I would think peoples needs would come first.

ohjayhawk 11 years ago

The humane society has to charge to help cover costs. If a pet is spayed or neutered while there, receives any other vet care (i.e. shots), that all costs money. Not to mention needing to pay bills (electric, gas, water, etc). $90 is not an outrageous amount when you start adding up all the costs. The application is a way to ensure that the animal will be going to a good home and will be properly cared for. Owning animals is not cheap. Between food, vet visits, toys, it all adds up rather quickly. The humane society needs to ensure that the animals will be taken care of so they don't end up either back at the shelter, or, even worse, in a neglectful/abusive environment.

May Soo 11 years ago

missashleya2007 (Anonymous) says:

I dont believe the humane society should complain about fundings because if you are charging $90.00 to adopt an animal what if some people cant afford that?

I agree, i know of many people who wants a pet but are unable to afford one at the humane society. I just think if they are going to kill the animal after spending all the money on the animal in the first place, won't it be better to let the poor have them for much lower price? Also, just because the person is poor, doesn't mean he/ she is not a fit care taker.

rac20 11 years ago

Thank you ohjayhawk. The Humane Society is a no kill facility. And it costs quite a bit of money to keep all of those unwanted animals alive and healthy for months and months while they're waiting for a home. I am disturbed by the comment about food being given away. Spywell, did you contact the shelter and let them know that this was happening, or ask them why it was being allowed? I would think the food must have been either expired or was being stolen by a shady employee or volunteer. I can't imagine that they would knowingly give away perfectly good food when they are always so desperate for supplies. I support the Humane Society and thank them for providing us with two wonderful dogs. Maybe if people would start taking responsibility for their pets then the city wouldn't have to allocate so much money towards the program and could focus on human services. Until then, I am grateful that we don't live in a city with dangerous and diseased strays running around scavaging for survival.

rac20 11 years ago

themiddlechild- If a person can't affort $90 to adopt a pet, how can that person afford to feed, vaccinate, and provide medical care? The $90 serves as a way to offset shelter costs and deter people from coming in and adopting pets on a whim, only to decide that the time or money commitment is too much and return those pets to the shelter.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 11 years ago

If you get a free pet, then take it to the vet to be fixed and given shots, it's going to cost a lot more than $90. Of course there are a lot of people out there who don't take care of those important needs, because they can't afford it. So, the world ends up with more unwanted dogs and cats who end up at the shelter. If you truly care for a pet you need to have them fixed and get shots regularly. If all you can afford to do is feed them, you shouldn't own a pet. Instead volunteer at the shelter. Then you can help with pets, without the financial burden of owning one.

Sean Livingstone 11 years ago

technonerd2, don't compare animals killings to human murdering, unless you're a strict vegetarian who doesn't eat meat (BTW, you need to kill an animal to get their meat). If you ask me whether any animal is killed humanely... I can tell you: NAY.

Horace 11 years ago

If you can't afford $90 for a dog, then you can't afford to take care of it.

To all of those complaining about the operations of the Humane Society, I look forward to seeing you there today volunteering and making it a better place.

erod0723 11 years ago

"Under a new proposal from Lawrence City Commissioner Rob Chestnut, two dozen agencies such as The Salvation Army and the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence would face 4 percent cuts in city funding instead of 6 percent."

The city is now just screwing over organizations that rely on city money, instead of completely screwing them over as previously proposed. How bout we just fire Corliss and his two assistants? That should provide a windfall to the tune of $200,000 or so per year for every year we don't have to deal with Corliss.

erod0723 11 years ago

I have a great way to provide solvency for the City and County budgets: Let's provide tax benefits to individuals who voluntarily transition to death. This would alleviate millions of city and county dollars spent on health care for the elderly and terminally and mentally ill. Crime would go down, and the stigmatization that Lawrence has as being "anti-homeless" would dissipate. I envision providing each individual willing to transition with a 1 weeks paid vacation to a location to a destination of their choosing in the United States. We could call it the "Celebration of Life Vacation". We could also partner with other communities in the US to provide discounted hotels and such to visiting transitioners.

coneflower 11 years ago

Good for Boog for standing up for social services. I've been unhappy with Chestnut - he and Dever along with Hack and Amyx have wasted no time in letting Lawrence know their agenda - but I am grateful for his attempt to moderate the "we'll broke, but we'll leave no poor developer behind" attitude of the new commission.

I expect the worst from this new commission, but I'm willing to give them a chance. So far, it doesn't look too good - unless you're a developer.

blackwalnut 11 years ago

I just saw this. I applaud Chestnut for this.

erod0723 11 years ago

spywell, Actually, I just read "Boomsday" By Christopher Buckley. Maybe he got the idea from the movie.

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