Fraser Valley Humane Society will keep its doors open in 2014 with a $30,000 fee for service grant from the district, a $5,000 increase from the previous year.
While council supported the grant, many had concerns about the way the society is being run even after district staff met with the members of the organization to try to help them find savings.
In a report to council, district staff could not identify obvious cost savings, but suggested changes to the non-profit society’s operational model, such as eliminating the shelter and running a foster program instead.
According to a report from Mission’s director of development services, Mike Younie, and manager of accounting services, Scott Ross, the successful shelters are located in buildings operated by local governments, or those who operate on privately owned land, such as Senior Animals in Need Today Society which is also located in Mission.
They also commended the group on their relationship with local vets, which saves the group 65 per cent on vet services as the doctors only charge the group 35 per cent of the retail cost. In 2012, FVHS spent $15,288 on vet bills.
“My concern is 60 per cent of their budget is spent on salaries,” said Coun. Tony Luck. “This group is fundamentally broken the way I see it … you can’t have 60 per cent of donations go to salaries.”
Luck suggested looking into amalgamating services or putting more responsibility on cat owners.
It costs about $8,800 a month to run the cat care centre, with $5,000 going to salaries for the executive director and two part-time employees. None of the workers receive benefits.
Coun. Dave Hensman found the cost spent of each cat on average alarming. There are less than 40 cats at the shelter each month.
FVHS needs to attract corporate dollars, said Coun. Jenny Steves, who noted it’s challenging to raise money for just cats.
Volunteers put in a lot of effort to organize many fundraisers throughout the year, she added. “It’s a lot of work for a little money.”
There are about 50 volunteers that put in about 450 hours at the shelter.