A different philosophical approach to dividing costs among cities that financially supports Southwest Countys new animal shelter is among the issues scheduled for the shelters oversight authority Wednesday.
The Southwest Communities Financial Authority plans to hold its annual business meeting at 1 pm at Murrieta City Hall, 24601 Jefferson Ave.
The authority is a coalition of Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Canyon Lake, Wildomar and Riverside County that was formed to build and oversee the new shelter in Wildomar that opened in October 2010.
Animal Friends of the Valleys, which operates the shelter, has proposed running the shelter for $1.9 million in the year starting July 1. Thats an increase of about $50,000 over the approved budget for this year, although actual spending should come in lower, according to Animal Friends summary.
Minus revenues and other offsets, the cities and county must kick in $902,900 from their budgets to keep the facility running.
Those costs have been divvied up among the six entities based on the number of animals coming into the shelter from each jurisdiction. That method also has been used in the equation for paying off the debt on the shelter, which the coalition financed on a $15 million bond measure.
Under that method, Lake Elsinore, with a population of about 52,000, and Wildomar, with about 32,000 people, owe more than Temecula, Murrieta and the county, even though each of those jurisdictions have more than 90,000 residents within the shelters coverage areas.
While officials mostly agree the animal-count approach makes sense on operational costs, some from Lake Elsinore and Wildomar have grumbled a bit about their debt costs.
The shelters staff plans to present a breakdown Wednesday on how shifting to a population-based method would alter the debt payments of each agency.
Based on animal counts, Lake Elsinores share of the annual $1.2 million debt service in the coming year would be $307,622, and Wildomars $227,284, compared with Temeculas $190,179 and Murrietas, $226,490.
The countys share would be $157,726 and Canyon Lakes $44,254.
The agencies have agreed to loan Wildomar $57,678 on its debt service in recognition of its situation as a recently formed city and new authority member that is struggling to make ends meet.
If debt shares were based on populations, Lake Elsinores payment would be reduced to $152,424 and Wildomars to $94,641, while Temeculas payment would shoot up to $294,421 and Murrietas to $304,331. The countys debt would shoot up to $276,673 and Canyon Lakes would drop to $31,064.
Lake Elsinore Mayor Brian Tisdale said that although it is unfortunate for his city, he believes the animal-count method remains the fairest system for distributing costs.
Its a hard one to swallow, he said. You dont want to just shuffle the debt onto someone else.
Theoretically, if Lake Elsinore and Wildomar can reduce their numbers of strays and abandoned pets, the payments would start to balance out.
Basing it on animals is probably the best way, Tisdale said. Just because the city is large, they shouldnt be penalized if they have less animals.
Animal control officials say that Lake Elsinore and Wildomar, as well as nearby unincorporated areas under the countys jurisdiction, have higher numbers because they have more rural and semirural areas where households tend to have more animals.
I assume the demographics play a key part in that, and some of that is a lack of education (regarding animal control laws), Tisdale said of the skewed numbers.
Also on Wednesdays agenda is a proposal from the authoritys staff to establish a contingency reserve fund of $48,756, expected as a surplus at the end of this fiscal year on June 30. The staff is proposing that the contingency fund balance be limited to $75,000 as surpluses occur in future years.
The staff is recommending we open up a reserve so instead of refunding all the money to the cities, we would keep some money on hand in case of emergencies, Animal Friends board President Kristine Anderson said.