Waynesboro officials say animal shelter budget won’t change operations
AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -The City of Waynesboro said their request for proposals (RFP) for the Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center (SVASC) will leave the shelter still in localities’ hands primarily.
When shelter advocates and volunteers found out about the request, many were worried. They said they were nervous the shelter would be turned over to someone who didn’t have the same priorities as current managers.
Those fears were stoked when they got to the budget portion of the RFP.
City of Waynesboro Assistant City Manager over finance Cameron McCormick said the proposed budget won’t cut any programs or change operations at the shelter.
“The budget is more for the localities to use as an estimate of how much they’ll have to contribute,” McCormick said.
He said the budget is meant as an outline rather than a definite limit on spending.
“What’s not included in the budget is things like donations, spay/neuter fees, some of the variable costs, and we use those funds to cover any increases in the budget throughout the year, and then at the end of the year, we look at the actuals as a whole and make sure, if there are any unbudgeted costs that weren’t covered by those variable revenues, that we cover those by billing the localities,” McCormick said.
Some Valley residents are worried the changes will mean fewer pets are saved at the shelter. McCormick said that’s not the case.
“There weren’t any changes to programs anticipated or any changes to operations anticipated as far as an outcome for the animals and things like that,” McCormick said.
The RFP is meant to help local officials get more staff members employed at the shelter, he said, since staffing is one of the biggest hurdles at the shelter.
“It was a hope that we could get more consistent staffing, that we could basically get some help,” McCormick said.
Advocates and volunteers also feared the shelter would fall to someone who doesn’t prioritize saving as many animals as possible. They said, right now, SVASC saves about 97% of their animals, but in the past, that percentage has been lower.
“The board would still be in charge of the shelter. They’d still set the guidelines for the shelter, the people who respond to the solicitation would follow the guidelines set forth by the Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center,” McCormick said.
The city said requests are due in December, and they hope to pick their favorite proposal shortly after. McCormick said they’ll pick based on qualifications, not money.
“It’s a little bit different than a competitive low bid. It’s not done on a cost basis. It’s done on qualifications of the people that respond to the solicitation,” McCormick said.
Advocates said they’ll attend Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County council and board meetings until a permanent plan is in action.
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