The city of Davenport and Humane Society of Scott County (HSSC) are at odds over the nonprofit’s budget.
The current three-year contract between the city and HSSC — negotiated last year — runs through June 2025 with an annual city contribution of approximately $400,000. The Humane Society (2802 Central Park Ave., Davenport) says this doesn’t close to covering its costs for the city, and has proposed Davenport increase its contribution by $1 million.
“The city of Davenport values the animal protection and control services currently provided by the Humane Society of Scott County,” Sarah Ott, Davenport’s chief strategy officer, said Monday by email, noting that in addition to the annual financial contribution of $400,000, the city also provides fuel, radios and a vehicle for the Humane Society’s use.
She said HSSC is terminating the newly negotiated agreement and requesting an increase of $1 million annually to their contract, a nearly 250% increase from their current funding level.
“The Humane Society of Scott County serves the entirety of Scott County and not just the city of Davenport,” Ott said. “They also receive funding from other municipal entities throughout Scott County.”
Davenport “understands the importance of animal protection and control services in our community and will continue to ensure these services are continued, regardless of provider, should we not be able to come to terms with the Humane Society,” she wrote Monday.
On Facebook Monday, the Humane Society posted that as a nonprofit, “we must consider our long-term sustainability so that we can continue to carry out our mission.” Payments from Davenport cover less than a third of the cost of its services, it said.
“This is unfair and unsustainable, and has led to a large deficit that puts the safety and welfare of our community’s animals at risk,” HSSC posted, noting it intends to renegotiate the contract, and – if necessary — to cancel the services “if we do not receive fair payment that at least comes close to covering our expenses for this service.”
“As a nonprofit organization, we have a responsibility to you, our supporters, to make good use of every dollar. We believe that your support should not be used to subsidize a city government’s budget, but instead should be put toward innovative and lifesaving programs,” HSSC posted.
“If you believe our work plays an important role in our community and deserves fair compensation, please reach out to your local city council members. Let them know that adequately funded animal services are important to you, and that city governments have a responsibility to fairly compensate their contractors,” the Facebook post says.
Davenport is 80% of services
Every city and town in Scott County, including the county, provide payment for services. However, the city of Davenport represents approximately 80% of HSSC services, the organization said.
“When we say the city of Davenport is currently paying less than 1/3 of the cost of services, that is in relation to just Davenport’s portion of our total operating costs,” its Facebook page says. “We in no way believe the city of Davenport should pay anything beyond their own costs for services. That’s all we are asking.”
Providing care for over 3,000 animals every year and animal control services for 100,000 Davenport residents is no small financial feat, the HSSC website says.
“Local governments have a duty to provide these services for their constituents. HSSC has been honored to provide these services for decades, however without fair compensation for the services this organization provides the city of Davenport’s government, HSSC will no longer be able to provide these vital public safety services to its citizens,” the site says.
If the Humane Society discontinued providing animal control and shelter services for the city, no other organization exists in the community with the capacity or desire to provide these services, according to the HSSC.
“Citizens would have no place to take lost, injured, ill, or aggressive animals unless city and county governments duplicated all of these services from scratch, generating severely increased costs in the government’s budget,” the site says. “Likewise, enforcement activities supported by HSSC’s officers (such as ordinance enforcement and investigation of animal cruelty) would not be provided.”
For more information on HSSC services, industry benchmarks, transparent financial data, and a Q&A section, visit its website HERE.