Life has taken over. I don’t have as much time to blog as I used to, but I still care about Keys issues, especially the issue of animal control.
Fortunately, Rick Boettger is all over it. He’s done a great job of getting the facts out about Monroe County’s disgraceful conduct regarding the Middle Keys animal shelter. He also filed the ethics complaint that led to county commissioner, George Neugent, being reprimanded by the Florida Ethics Commission – a major achievement.
Here’s his latest at the Blue Paper. The very first sentence grabbed my attention right away.
The County will vote April 12th to give the SPCA an extra $150,000 a year “effective immediately” to operate the Marathon animal shelter.
Here’s the agenda item.
Boettger goes on to point out that when, Stand Up For Animals (SUFA), the former operator of the Marathon shelter, requested a far more modest increase of $15,000 the county went ballistic.
Well, 16 months later [the FKSCPA] say they need $150,000 more than their contractual agreement for $247,000/year, a massive 61% increase.
Time for a trip down memory lane. ‘Way back in the Good Old Days, SUFA ran TWO Middle Keys Shelters, the one in Marathon and also one in Big Pine Key. They were paid $265,000/year for their two shelters and were shut down when they asked for a $15,000/year raise, only a 5.6% increase after years at their old rate.
We’ll see what the commissioners say at the upcoming meeting, but the agenda backup indicates that staff recommends approval of this item. I guess the county’s reaction depends on the shelter operator’s willingness to “play ball” in the county’s games. SUFA was serious about improving the situation of companion animals in the Florida Keys, and worked toward that end. No time or patience for games.
The timing of this funding increase is very interesting, too. I’ve made a big issue of the funding disparity between the shelters. The Upper Keys shelter has a disgracefully high euthanasia rate – over 52%. It is more than double that of the other two shelters. And yet, they also receive the lowest level of county funding on a per animal basis. (By the way, shelter operator Marsha Garrettson has waved away that fact. See what I said above about the willingness to “play ball”, helpless animals be damned.)
Do you know what the county has done about the horrible situation in the Upper Keys? Nothing. Well, worse than nothing. They lied about it. County staff exaggerated the number of animals handled by the other two shelters to hide the funding disparity. This is, of course, in keeping with their disgraceful conduct regarding the SUFA matter.
This year, the county has chosen to be more sophisticated in their deception. They simply stalled the request for the Marathon shelter’s enormous funding increase until after the 2016 State of the County report was issued. That way they could temporarily downplay the stark differences. Here is a comparison table.
The amount of time, energy and resources Monroe County spends on screwing up animal control is mind-boggling. It would probably cost far less if they just did it right. We’d probably have better outcomes, too. Boettger pointed out just how much the county’s negligent mismanagement has cost the taxpayers.
The County will vote April 12th to give the SPCA an extra $150,000 a year “effective immediately” to operate the Marathon animal shelter. This further compounds, until the end of time, the already-$1,000,000 taxpayer loss I have described previously due to the County’s illegal demolition of Stand Up For Animals (SUFA) in 2010 and its replacement by a group of Commissioner George Neugent’s friends, SHARK, who ran it into the ground.
I strongly feel that one of the reasons that the county gets away with this nonsense year after year is that Keys communities are so disconnected from each other. It allows county commissioners to pit one area against another. This strategy has worked beautifully on the wastewater projects, allowing the county to divert millions of taxpayer dollars into certain pockets.
There’s no question that Keys media plays a role as well. They bent over backwards to make SUFA look bad, and they play their own games with animal control numbers.
It’s just sad. Things will never improve with the current crop of corrupt boobs on the BOCC. Not to mention their loyal minion, the iPhone Bandit.