Tangled Web: Tracking Costs

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Update:  When I reread this post, I realized I buried the lede.  Bottom line – available cost information does not support the $425,000 contract price.  Taxpayers are being forced to pay FKSPCA more than it costs to run the Marathon animal shelter.  So where’s our money going?


Oh what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive.

I asked the county to provide the following audited financial statements from various animal shelter operators.

  • Audited financial statements from SUFA (2009-2011).  None received.
  • Audited financial statements from SHARK (2011-2015) – 2011, 2012, 2013 received; 2014 and 2015 still missing.  I did, however, manage to find a 2014 tax return at Guidestar.com.
  • Audited financial statements from FKSPCA (2014-2016) – 2014 and 2015 received.  FKSPCA apparently never bothered to submit a statement for 2016 so now the county is chasing that.  Or so they say.

The operators are required to submit these documents each year.  They should not be difficult to find.  In fact, I would argue these documents would have been absolutely required in order to evaluate the validity of FKSPCA’s astronomical bid price.  But the county is struggling to locate the most relevant of these financial statements.

My guess is they’re tangled up in their web of lies.  It might take a while before they’re able to “find”, “doctor” and/or “manufacture” the documents I requested.

Fortunately, there are other avenues.  Don’t get me wrong, I still want those documents.  But in the meantime I found some alternative information sources.  I graphed actual costs incurred by the shelter operators and the county contract amount.  The cost information came from a variety of sources.  Audited financial statements, internal financial reports, tax returns, and county documents.

Graph_actualcost

A few observations:

  1.  Remember that SUFA actually ran two shelters until they were harassed out of business by Grinder Pump George Neugent, Dim Bulb Danny Kolhage, the iPhone Bandit, and their army of cronies, including Shady Bob Shillinger.
  2. From 2004 through 2009, SUFA kept costs steady, which was a benefit to the taxpayers.  Costs were controlled and predictable, averaging around $315,000 per year.  The county paid around $260,000 per year and SUFA made up the difference.
  3. When SHARK took over, costs initially decreased.  This is presumably because the Big Pine shelter was closed, and SHARK was required to run only one shelter rather than two.  However, costs soon sky-rocketed reaching a high of $375,000 in 2014.  Costs increased by $88,000 from 2012 to 2013, and by $41,000 from 2013 to 2014.
  4. After SHARK failed and FKSPCA took over operations, costs continued their sharp upward trajectory, topping out at $395,000 in 2016.  County taxpayers will bankroll FKSPCA to the tune of $425,000 going forward, without having any reliable information as to why cost increased so drastically under SHARK.

The extreme cost escalations under SHARK require a closer look.  What’s behind the $88,000 increase?  How about the $41,000 increase?

  1. Between 2012 and 2013, payroll costs increased by nearly $41,000.  As mentioned in an earlier post, SHARK paid an exorbitant amount for accounting services as compared to the other two shelters.  They account for almost $20,000 of the increase.  Medicine and supplies account for another $17,000.  Those are the big three.  They account for about 85% of the increase.  The rest are modest increases related to food, veterinary bills, repairs, etc.
  2. Between 2013 and 2014, payroll costs once again accounted for much of the increase – $17,000.  Repairs and maintenance accounted for almost $13,000.  Insurance rounds out the big three at over $8,000.

We are owed clear answers regarding the sharp cost increases at the Marathon shelter on SHARK’s watch.  FKSPCA is using those unexplained increases to justify additional increases, and is expecting the taxpayers to cover it.  By the way, FKSPCA is not pleased with my questions.  Oddly enough, the state attorney isn’t nearly as curious about all this as I am.  Hmmm…isn’t it their job to be curious about suspicious transactions?

I’m sure there’s a rational explanation.  I’m equally sure the county and their cronies don’t want us to know what it is.

I hope the county is ready for more public records requests because I have a lot of questions.

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