A proposal was made by City Manager, Mike Martin at the April 15, 2013 Burien City Council meeting to extend the contract to CARES until 2016.
This extension would also give CARES and additional $50,000 per year and a 3% COLA to each of their three employees. Since CARES counts phone calls differently than RASKC, the number is highly inflated compared to other cities, something RASKC took into consideration when coming up with a cost for Burien to contract with them.
I believe that the City of Burien should renegotiate their contract for animal control services with RASKC (Regional Animal Services of King County).
The City of SeaTac with a 2011 population of 27, 430 (Wikipedia) recently got a contract for animal control services from RASKC for $107,000 per year. The cost of a contract with RASKC is based on several factors: the number of calls received, the number of animal intakes, minus license fees, a percentage discount and a reduction shared by cities in the group (the most compelling factor in the reduction of fees).
The Burien City Council appears ready to extend the animal control and services contract for the controversial Burien CARES group and increase funding by $50,000 annually.
With the two-year contract extension, CARES would also be required to implement several recommendations made in an audit by Denise McVicker, deputy director of the Tacoma, Pierce County Humane Society.
Two King County representatives appeared before the council on April 15 to answer questions about operations of the Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC). Some CARES critics have suggested Burien return to contracting with King County for animal services. SeaTac and Tukwila contract with RASKC.
Sean Bouffiou, King County Records and Licensing finance administrator, estimated RASKC would charge Burien $418,000 per year minus pet licensing fees from the city. The net cost is pegged at $332,000 annually.
The proposed new Burien CARES contract is $170,000 annually. CARES has one animal control officer who covers the city and an animal shelter on Southwest 151st Street.
Clearly Burien citizens are now seeing what appears to be the "old boys city staff network giving contracts to their friends".
The City Manager is now proposing (see page 97 of the Burien City council Packet for April 15, 2013) giving an extended contract to CARES.
This extended contract is to include;
1. Extending the contract for CARES from 2014 to 2016 with no explanation of what new services CARES will cover and what animals they will provide services to.
2. An increase in the amount to be paid to CARES from $120,000 to $170,000 per year to CARES (an increase of $50,000 a year to CARES) with no explanation of what this increase will cover. It can be paid in advance to them and in lump sums to remedy their problems as noted in the McVicker evaluation.
3. There will be no competitive bids allowed on this new/modified extended contract to be extended another two years
At the Burien Council City study session on March 25, 2013, the city staff gave a report on the animal care and animal control non profit (CARES) that the city pays for, $120,000 per year-see the city packet of the meeting.
The city staff presentation packet seemed to skip a number of the points that should have been of concern to the city such as; currently animals that have bitten or acted aggressively to humans and domestic animals are being adopted to the public. This creates a huge liability on the placement agency and the contracting city for lawsuits. Also, if something happens to the animal control officer or the owner/director of CARES there is no one else available to take over the job and/or provide sufficient funding to keep CARES providing services to Burien.
Debi Wagner pretty well summarized many of the issues on CARES needing correction in her letter. -See
Two north Burien parks, about a half-mile from each other, have been identified as possible sites for an off-leash dog facility.
Steve Roemer, Burien Parks operations manager, told council members his department looked at parks owned by the city that were currently underutilized. He noted a city off-leash dog park would draw dog owners from within a 5-mile radius.
There are currently off-leash parks at Grandview in SeaTac and Westcrest in White Center.
Burien lawmakers at their March 25 study session indicated interest in a second dog park in the south end. Lakeview Park at South 160th Street and 6th Avenue Southwest was mentioned as a possible site
The two north end parks are Hazel Valley, 2.84 acres, at 251 S.W. 126th St. and Salmon Creek, 4.61 acres, at 700 S.W. 118th St. They were acquired by the Burien when the southern portion of North Highline was annexed in 2009.
Love it or hate it. There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground.
Burien Community Animal Resource and Education Society (CARES) is a nonprofit group that the city contracts with for animal control and services.
Debra George, co-owner of the Mark Restaurant and Discover Burien events director, heads it. She is not paid as CARES director.
There doesn’t appear to be any softening of positions on the group even after the release of an audit report by Denise McVicker, deputy director of the Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County.
During a City Council study session on March 25, Burien city officials characterized the report as affirming that CARES is performing its contract with the city and treating animals in its care humanely. City Manager Mike Martin noted McVicker had given some recommendations on improvements that may cost more and expand services CARES is providing.
“This is a classic, young community-based organization that is doing everything right,” Martin declared. “It is time to get behind it. It has been through some rough times.”
Based on the Burien CARES Program Evaluation in the Council Work Session packet for tonight, CARES is not head and shoulders better than the King County Animal Control Program-see pages 25-36 of the online packet.
For the last year and a half, the Burien City Manager/Mike Martin has been standing up before the public and declaring that CARES (provider of Animal Care and Animal Control for Burien) is head and shoulders better than the King County Animal Control program. He has repeatedly made this statement at public meetings, at annexation meetings and to the media. Denise McVicker, the Deputy Director of the Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County, has just completed an evaluation of CARES and here are some of her findings in the completed report that I believe will be glossed over tonight at the work session of the Council.
1. The staff is inadequately trained.
2. There is no coordinated mechanism for the pick up and reporting or description of dead animals in Burien so that the citizens looking for their animals can be apprised of information.
Join the Burien Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and staff for a dog park planning meeting.
Come discuss a proposal for an off-leash dog play area.
Sites to be discussed include Hazel Valley Park and Salmon Creek Park.
This project also supported by the B-Town dog owners group.
When: March 13, 2013 @ 7 pm
Where: Saint Bernadette Parish Hall
1028 SW 128th ST, 98146
For more information call 206-988-3700
Community Animal Resource Education Society of Burien (CARES ) received official notice from the IRS on Sept. 10 that its application for 501 (c) 3 status was approved, retroactive to May 1, 2011, when the animal control organization began operations.
This 501 (c) 3 status allows past and future donors to CARES to deduct their contributions from their federal income tax. The designation also provides more opportunities for CARES to apply for and obtain government grants.
Further, CARES is now exempt from paying sales tax on its purchases of pet food and other supplies.
CARES director Debra George said she was elated after receiving the letter from the IRS. “This is an important document for us,” she said. “it allows us to continue to move forward in a positive direction.”
Kellie Bassen is looking for volunteers to help start an official off-leash dog park at Hilltop Park in Burien.
The closest off-leash park now s Grandview Park in SeaTac.
Those interested should email Bassen at email@example.com.
Here’s part of her her email to us:
I was asked by Jack Block, Jr. to spearhead an effort to organize volunteers for a steering committee in order to convert Hilltop Park into an official off-leash dog park.
Burien is in need of an off-leash park where the city might even have dog-centric events in the future! Dogs love to run and socialize...and so do their owners.
Proper fencing, landscaping and a small agility course would be needed. As well as signage and a bag dispenser.
We are in need of 6-8 people (or more!) and will be getting together for a discussion next Thursday, 11:00 am at the Burien Press. (423 S.W. 152nd St.) They could just e-mail me if interested.