Mendocino Co in CA is considering closing the Fort Bragg Animal Shelter in order to save money. Saving money always sounds good and is often a popular move with county councils. There’s just one pesky part: math. You have to do a cost-benefit analysis to show that the budget post shelter closing looks better than the budget if you kept the shelter open.
Two local animal advocates did the math and concluded that closing the shelter would actually cost the county $35,000, not save it $83,000 as the county had projected. They wanted to compare math notes with the county. From the advocates’ report:
“We arrive at this conclusion because of their [county] response when we requested income and expense statistics. Management explained the information was not available. Then, a few days later, they provided the information we requested. It came with a letter from County Counsel Jeanine B. Nadel,” Jensen said.
“[Nadel] explained that county employees had to spend over nine hours compiling the requested information, including five hours on data compilation and extraction. Had they prepared a cost-benefit analysis, it seems the supporting data would have been on-hand.”
Yes, it would seem.
Among the stumbling blocks for the county:
If the shelter closes, two employees will be let go; they’ll be eligible for unemployment benefits. This means salary savings will not be $83,000 as expected. Instead, because the county is self-insured, they will pay approximately $450 a week, for each employee, for at least 26 weeks (longer if unemployment benefits are extended). This will increase costs at least $23,400.
Gee that $83,000 figure looks familiar. Oh yeah, that’s what the county said they would save by closing the shelter. So let’s recap the county’s apparent cost-benefit analysis: We close the shelter, then we don’t have to pay the employees anymore and *poof* they disappear off the face of the earth and we get to keep their salaries.
What? That’s not how it works? Oh darn. But the community’s pets – now those will disappear, right?
Sheriff Tom Allman told a group of concerned animal supporters he believes Animal Control will have to make five to 10 trips a week from Fort Bragg to Ukiah. Each round trip is 120 miles. Using the current government reimbursement rate of $.50, 7.5 trips per week will increase costs $23,400 annually.
It’s important to remember, if the shelter closes, there’ll be no place to hold animals prior to taking them to Ukiah. Animal carcasses, sick or injured animals, escaped tourists’ pets, aggressive dogs, even friendly cats and dogs, cannot simply ride around in a patrol car. Animals will have to be transported as received which means multiple trips and overtime; new transportation costs will be at least $23,400.
I think Mendocino Co Council might want to get their money back from whoever they paid to do their cost-benefit “analysis” on closing the shelter. I wonder why they are having such terrible budget problems.<—–Total mystery.