ACC Commission to vote on animal services budget
Athens-Clarke County Animal Services faces rising surgery, supply, and animal care maintenance costs along with an increased demand for their services. Now, the Animal Services staff is asking commissioners to approve a $200,000 increase in the budget.
Salary savings have helped cover cost overruns in the past, but those funds are not currently available. Instead, the commission approved an additional $115,000 of General Fund Operating Contingency for Animal Services and allotted a larger budget for this fiscal year.
Despite the increases, rising costs in these areas have prompted the need for more funding. Since January 2023, surgery costs at The Athens Area Humane Society have risen by 50%. Additionally, dog food, cat food, and litter prices have increased by 20%, according to ACC staff.
Meanwhile, Animal Services has seen an increase in demand in the past 10 months. Compared to the previous fiscal year, over 150 more animals have been spayed or neutered and about 500 more exams were administered. The department has turned to contract labor as they struggle to fill animal caretaker positions.
These challenges have caused Animal Services to exceed their surgery budget by about $30,000 and the animal care maintenance and medical supplies budget by about $20,000.
The Athens-Clarke County Commission is expected to vote on the budget increase on June 6.