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Surprise $47K for Palo Alto Animal Services from Santa Clara County - Press Reports - Friends of the Palo Alto Animal Shelter

Surprise $47K for Palo Alto Animal Services from Santa Clara County

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By Jason Green
Palo Alto Daily News/San Jose Mercury News
June 16, 2012
Read original article at www.mercurynews.com

Palo Alto’s cash-strapped animal services division received a much needed shot in the arm Friday.

The $4.1 billion budget passed by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors includes $47,000 for the division, which is facing an uncertain future after losing one of its three partners.

The one-time allocation, proposed by termed-out Supervisor Liz Kniss, represents 10 percent of the $470,000 deficit caused by Mountain View’s departure. The money is intended to help the division either develop a new operational model or fund the existing one while solutions are developed.

“Animal services are very important to the community, and in light of recent events, Palo Alto needs some time to revamp the services and budget,” said Kniss, who represents Palo Alto on the board of supervisors.

In addition to Mountain View, Palo Alto has provided animal services to Los Altos and Los Altos Hills since 1993.

News of the surprise cash infusion was welcomed by the Friends of the Palo Alto Animal Shelter, a volunteer-led nonprofit organization formed last month to ensure the division’s future.

“We really want to thank the county Board of Supervisors and Supervisor Liz Kniss for their generosity,” spokesman Luke Stangel wrote in an email to The Daily News. “The shelter is a critical asset in Palo Alto, and we’re grateful that people are willing to do whatever it takes to keep it running.”

Palo Alto City Manager James Keene initially proposed outsourcing the division to an agency like the Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority, which Mountain View voted to join last year. The move would have potentially lowered annual expenditures on animal services to $500,000.

The suggestion stirred strong community opposition and received a thumbs-down from two city council committees.

While the city council is expected to pass a budget next week that keeps the division’s $1.7 million budget intact, a stakeholders group formed by Keene at the Finance Committee’s direction is already working to find ways to cut costs and raise revenues by $500,000.

A package of fee hikes and staffing cuts will likely be presented to the city council later this year.

“This donation really came at the perfect time for the shelter,” Stangel said about the $47,000 from the Board of Supervisors. “A lot of us are trying to figure out how to create $500,000 in new revenue, and this donation essentially represents the first 10 percent of our goal.”

Kniss also proposed funding for a mammography program that serves low-income women and funding for safety-net programs operated by the Sunnyvale and West Valley community services agencies.

“Many of the programs I support focus on prevention,” Kniss said. “By investing in such services now we avoid worse prospects down the road, in both monetary and human terms, of trying to address community needs.”

Email Jason Green at jgreen@dailynewsgroup.com.

If you want to go

A fundraiser to benefit the Palo Alto Animal Services division will take place Tuesday, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, 640 Emerson St. For more information on upcoming events, visit www.pafriends.org