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County to share cost of audit

Society has 7 days to sign contract

POSTED: February 24, 2010 4:00 a.m.

It’s been nearly two months since the Dawson County commission approved a contract with the local humane society to care for stray animals.


As of last week, however, Dawson County Humane Society board members still had not signed the $150,000 agreement, which also requires a professional audit of the shelter’s financial records.


The commission met with shelter volunteers on Feb. 11 to discuss the situation and hear from volunteers, who say the shelter can not afford to pay for the audit.


On Thursday, the commission voted to pay as much as $2,500 toward the audit in a 3-1 vote, with Commissioner Mike Connor voting against the motion.


Connor’s previous motion for the county to pay the entire audit “if they’re going to insist on having one” failed to receive a second.


Connor was upset with the commission’s decision.


He said officials needed to recognize the shelter has certain fixed costs and can not handle the number of dogs with the amount of money agreed upon.


“How can we expect them to sign a contract when we are asking them to work below the fixed cost?” Connor asked.


He called the action arrogant on the commission’s part.


Commissioners approved a contract in December to pay the organization $12,500 each month, for a total of $150,000 for the year, for animals brought in by animal control officers.


Thursday’s decision also grants the humane society up to an additional $450 per quarter for more animals than negotiated brought into the shelter.


Commissioner Julie Hughes Nix made Thursday’s motion, as well as the motion in December to require a financial audit to be completed by the end of June.


The commission did not require an audit when it approved the shelter’s 2009 contract.


Shelter board members have had several discussions regarding an audit of financial records over the last couple years. The issue, according to volunteer Brenda Lee, has always been the cost.


Lee has said the $5,000 spent on an audit could be used instead for the betterment of the animals.


Nix said she could not vote on a contract with any organization that did not have a checks and balance system like an audit.


Connor said the audit is money that could be used “for a good cause.”


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