Beaverhead Animal Shelter board adopts new budget

Casey S. Elliott
Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Beaverhead Animal Shelter officials predict they will end the 2020 fiscal year roughly $13,000 in the black, a year after new management took over and cleared almost $70,000 in debt.

The shelter board approved the facility’s 2020 budget at its Sept. 1 meeting.

The approval marks one of many changes the new board undertook after their swearing in last July 31. The shelter’s finances had been a mystery to county officials who pressed shelter founder Susie Brown to provide details on the shelter’s financial operations. The documents provided listed line items of expenses and income, which appeared to be more of an ongoing tally rather than an official budget prediction for income and expenses.

The new board spent months digging through receipts and past-due invoices to square just how much money was owed and what was coming in. They, and the new shelter managers, reduced the number of animals being cared for in the shelter to reduce costs and paid off debts – with donor help.

The 2020 budget predicts $177,545.06 of income for the year, with the largest amounts coming through donations ($89,643.14), county tax levy dollars ($32,157.50), and adoptions ($33,809.50). Expenses are estimated to total $164,465.18 for the year, with the biggest costs going to payroll ($75,795.86), payroll taxes ($24,607.66), accounting fees ($19,000), and workers’ compensation insurance ($8,572.72).

The board sought to pass a budget in January, but realized it could not realistically have a good idea of those costs at that point. Once the board hit the July mark – a year after taking over – it felt it had a better idea of approximate costs to operate the facility, and could create an accurate budget, Board Secretary Lauren Johnson said.

The board will begin the budgeting process again in October, with a goal of passing the 2021 budget in December, she added.

The shelter’s August 2020 Profit and Loss statement detailed $12,633.54 in income, of which the majority came through adoptions and donations; and $12,450.89 in expenses. The highest expenses were for payroll and payrollassociated taxes.

In other action, the board welcomed new members Joyce Pollastro and Ellen Foster. They replace Paul and Kim Tikalsky who resigned. Pollastro is a teacher with non-profit experience, who moved from Willow Creek. Foster is a Polaris and Sarasota, Florida, resident, who has been employed in both for- and non-profit sectors. The newest members took a tour of the facilities after the meeting.

Johnson said the board will turn its attention to shelter facilities, of which several are in disrepair. Earlier this year the facility suffered an interior roof collapse caused by years of water damage; there was also an electrical fire with an unknown cause.

The board approved the demolition of a storage building that was damaged earlier this year; the building was deemed structurally unsound and was condemned. The board approved accepting a $100 donation from Board President Richard Melle, allowing him to disassemble the building for salvage. The demolition is expected to be complete before the end of November.

Shelter officials reported the facility had 19 dogs, two puppies, 30 cats and several kittens still needing to be weened on site at the September meeting. Officials wrapped up finding homes for animals they took in related to a Great Falls animal hoarding case. The shelter took in horses and other animals as part of the case. Executive Director Nikki Knight said horse feed and other animal care costs have been subsidized by donations, and there are no outstanding bills from that case.

The next board meeting is scheduled for Oct. 6.