Following NAW's departure BV's animal shelter rates rise for remaining partners

·4 min read

Eganville -- Bonnechere Valley Township is raising the rates for partners in the animal shelter following the withdrawal of North Algona Wilberforce Township and a shortfall of about $3,000 annually.

“That is a significant amount of revenue from one partner walking out,” Councillor Tim Schison told a committee meeting of council last Tuesday.

“We cannot maintain the physical structure of the budling on what we are receiving,” noted Councillor Brent Patrick. “We are breaking even.”

The last time BV brought in an increase to the shelter agreement fees was about six years ago. The new fee will be $400 a month.

The recent withdrawal of NAW from the agreement leaves eight municipalities, including host BV. However, the loss of NAW also means costs are going up for the remaining partners as approved by BV council in an effort to keep the shelter solvent.

Following the departure of NAW, council had requested a review of the revenue and expenses of the facility to ensure it is not operating at a loss. The report presented at council last week showed the total cost of the shelter, less the 25 percent for animal control, is $31,250. The total revenue without North Algona Wilberforce would be $28,140, council was told.

The break-even point would be an increase of $40 a month, CAO Annette Gilchrist told council.

“I don’t know what they will say,” she added. “I don’t know if we will lose partners. I don’t know how that will be received.”

However, once council began discussing the operation, it was determined the increase needed to be slightly more than the $40 originally presented since there has been no increase from about 2017 and inflation is growing.

Councillor Merv Buckwald asked if there are other services in the area which would have caused NAW to step away.

“What else is around?” he asked. “Has something started to give us competition? Where are they going?”

Mrs. Gilchrist noted it is a well-used service and there are not a lot of other options in the area.

Councillor Jack Roesner asked how many times the various partners have used the shelter.

“Is it used monthly?” he asked.

Mrs. Gilchrist said all the partners do not use it on a monthly basis, but it is always being used.

“Not always by our partners,” she added. “Sometimes there is just a BV dog.”

“If a dog is lost and gets picked up it is used from South Algonquin to Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards, Madawaska Valley, Laurentian Valley to Whitewater Region.”

It might be infrequent for some of the municipalities, but it is being used, she said. As well, the municipalities know they can send their dogs to the shelter when needed.

“The worst thing would be if all of a sudden you get a call for a dog and where are you going to take it if you don’t have an agreement?” she asked.

The agreement is basically leasing space for when it is needed, she explained.

“It is a unique service we provide,” she said. “If we don’t want to provide it everyone will be paying someone to provide it for us.”

Mayor Jennifer Murphy asked if there are anticipated capital needs for the shelter in the next two years.

Mrs. Gilchrist pointed out there will be a review of capital needs throughout the municipality.

“Many facilities have been left to emergency fixes only,” she said. “All of our facilities need a little bit of TLC including the dog pound. We are probably looking at $10,000 per facility per year.

“We are not trying to make money on this but if we are truly partners, it seems we are contributing the majority,” Mrs. Gilchrist said.

Coun. Schison said he supports an increase but cautioned they cannot afford to lose another partner.

Councillor Brent Patrick pointed out other partners are currently in the agreement with a 90-day cancellation notice, just like NAW was.

Coun. Schison said it could be quite an impact if other municipalities pull out of the agreement.

“When we see how quick this can change, at what point do we say we can’t absorb it anymore?” he asked.

Mrs. Gilchrist pointed out BV also has the 90-day termination clause.

“We could move away from it and have to find somewhere else,” she said.

“How much could it cost us if we have to go outside?” he asked.

Councillor Jack Roesner suggested changing the agreement to have a one-year termination clause.

“I had six months in my head,” Mayor Murphy said. “I don’t want one year to be a dealbreaker.”

Coun Schison said he felt the partner municipalities would understand the need for the increase to $400 a month.

“Everything has skyrocketed in the last six months,” he said. “I think our partners will be more compassionate that anything we have to replace has gone up.”

Mrs. Gilchrist said a letter will go out to the partner municipalities about the increase as well as a new termination clause of six months. Partners are Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards, Madawaska Valley, South Algonquin, Whitewater Region, Laurentian Valley, Pikwakanagan and Admaston/Bromley.

Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader

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