Letters to the Editor

Setting the record straight on AVHS

I am exasperated with the comments that are being pushed by Councilmember John Partridge that he is responsible for the success of the Auburn Valley Humane Society (AVHS).

While his work with this initiative has been admirable, Partridge is showing the traits of a politician who wants to take credit for things that they had nothing to do with. He discounts the efforts of the people who actually did work on the project and overlooks the "real costs" involved in this program.

The AVHS is not a self-funded and independent organization – it is a contracted agency with the City of Auburn and could not have come to fruition without the collective effort of the veterinarians, City Council, the mayor, numerous city staff and community members supporting this very worthy project.

The AVHS is primarily funded by pet licensing fees collected by the City and other community entities/businesses and must reach an annual amount of $255,000 in order for the organization to survive.

According to the AVHS business plan submitted to the City in 2011, the City's "donation of $255,000 per year will make up +/-80 percent of the AVHS annual budget." If the fees do not reach the $255,000 annual revenue for AVHS from pet licensing, Auburn's taxpayers must make up the difference. To date, it has been at a deficit since taking over from King County Animal Control on Jan. 1, 2013.

An update from staff to the City Council in April 2013 (article in the Auburn Reporter) reported that the City has not sold half the number of licenses it needs to in order to hit this number, the article notes that, "... the City has taken in $18,000 and paid AVHS about $120,000."

In addition, the City funded nearly all of the upgrades to the AVHS building before its opening in the amount of over $80,000, is paying a full-time, dedicated animal control officer for about $80,000 a year and purchased an animal control vehicle about $50,000. In 2011, the startup for this organization was estimated at over $500,000 in City costs alone. Councilmember Partridge seems to be campaigning on the AVHS issue as if he alone is responsible for this project when in fact the Council and others made this project happen together.

The Auburn Valley Humane Society is doing wonderful work in our community. I'm more than happy to have my tax dollars go toward this incredible organization. This information was obtained from the City's website. I hope this sets the record straight.

– Gene Cerino

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