I submitted the following public records request to Kevin Wilson, the Assistant County Administrator who is supposedly responsible for animal control.
Please provide the documents that show what due diligence was done to confirm that $425,000 per year is a reasonable cost to run the Marathon animal shelter.
Wilson responded by providing four documents which do nothing to justify the $175,000 price jump is in any way reasonable. The whole dialog can be found here.
Let’s take look at these documents one by one, shall we?
- The first is simply a summary of the county’s payments to each of the shelter operators over the past two years. It doesn’t tell us anything about the actual cost of running the shelters. And it does nothing to explain why the county thinks it is reasonable to pay $425,000 to run the Marathon shelter. Strangely enough, it doesn’t mention the increased contract amount at all.
- The second details the number of animal cases handled at each shelter. Again there’s nothing here to suggest that the $175,000 jump in price is justified. The Upper Keys shelter, as we already know, handles more animals than the Marathon shelter, but doesn’t receive anywhere near $425,000. All three shelters responded to roughly the same number of service calls.
- The third document is a summary of the above.
- The fourth document is an estimate of what it would cost the county to run the animal control operation in-house as opposed to farming it out to an independent contractor. It looks like it was completed in 2004-2005.
If I take the county’s numbers from the fourth document and plug them into the CPI calculator at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, I come up with the following table.
According to the county’s own numbers, the new contract amount for running the Marathon shelter is way out of line with projected amounts. On top of that, it’s not supported by the number of animals handled as compared to the other shelters.
Even I’m a little surprised at the county’s brazenness. They didn’t even bother to make a case for the $425,000 price tag. I guess they are secure in the knowledge that they can get away with anything. Who’s going to stop them?