FAAS, City Will Ink New Contract
The City Council is set to put its seal of approval on the proposed contract between the City and the Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS). At next Tuesday’s meeting, the Council will vote whether to authorize City Manager Jill Keimach to ink a contract to keep FAAS in business and the animal shelter open.
If approved and signed, the animal services agreement will not only increase funding for the shelter, but the City will continue to provide the shelter a facility, capital improvements at that facility and animal control officers at no cost.
Terms of the new agreement include an annual payment from the City to FAAS not to exceed $804,300. The earlier contract included a $300,000 annual payment. The City will base any annual increases on the cost of living. The $804,300 will cover 58 percent of FAAS’ budget. The new contract requires FAAS to provide the remaining 42 percent of its budget through fundraising and fees.
Historically, the Alameda Police Department (APD) has provided animal care and control. In 2011, during the recession, the City required each department, including APD, to absorb the brunt of budget cuts. To comply, APD chose to turn the operation of the shelter over to a nonprofit.
When the community expressed a strong interest in FAAS taking over the shelter, the City and FAAS inked a 15-year contract to start in January 2012. FAAS operated the shelter for five years until early 2016, when the nonprofit approached the City and said that the existing contract was not providing sufficient funding.
The City hired Wildan Financial Services Inc. to look at FAAS’ financial situation and better understand its budget. Wildan worked with an industry expert from the Peninsula Humane Society to help evaluate FAAS’ positions, job descriptions and budget.
Wildan found that from fiscal year 2012-13 to fiscal year 2015-16 FAAS’ budget increased approximately 35 percent. Wildan attributed this increase to salaries and benefits as well as general costs to operate the shelter. During this time, the collection of fees declined. In fiscal year 2012-13, FAAS had an operating surplus; in fiscal year 2015-16, the shelter broke even.
“Today FAAS can claim a very impressive 94 percent live release rate up from a high of 82 percent when APD ran the shelter,” staff states in its report to the Council. “FAAS subscribes to best practices, which have become industry standards.”
Once Keimach signs the agreement, the City will spend $75,000 to cover costs at the shelter through June 30, 2017. The City will continue to rent the shelter to FAAS for $1 per year. In addition the city will make capital improvement to the shelter totaling $170,000, including a new roof, an upgraded kitchen where FAAS prepares animal meals and upgrades to the heating and cooling system.
The City will provide an additional $50,000 for improvements in the 2018-19 fiscal year, and will pay for seven full-time and five part-time employees at the shelter. FAAS will pay for two full-time employees, continuing to participate in the job training and placement program at the Alameda Point Collaborative.
The term of the proposed contract is for two years, ending June 2019. A provision in the contract allows the City Council to extend the contract an additional two years.