Routine animal shelter agreement: A tasty, rounded treat for Bloomington city council’s first meeting of 2020

(Dogs pictured were available for adoption at Bloomington’s animal shelter on Jan. 6, 2020.)

On Wednesday, Bloomington’s city council kicks off 2020 with its first meeting of the year, when it handles organizational matters like the election of new officers.

Some other non-organizational action items also appear on Wednesday’s agenda, among them a $350K interlocal agreement between Bloomington, Ellettsville and Monroe County on splitting costs for Bloomington’s animal shelter. It’s a routine agreement that’s been ratified for several years based on an agreed-upon formula that assigns costs on a per-animal basis.

Another routine interlocal agreement, under which Monroe County administers the building code for the city and the county, also appears on Wednesday’s agenda. It dates back to 1996 and has been extended at regular intervals for the last quarter century.

A third action item the council is expected to handle on Wednesday is a proposal to use existing city code to establish standing committees to distribute some of the council’s work.

The animal shelter interlocal agreement dates back several years. It’s based on a “long-standing formula,” according to the council staff memo in the meeting information packet. The formula starts with actual expenditures of Bloomington’s animal shelter for the previous year. For 2018 that figure was $893,723, according to the staff memo.

Revenue from adoptions ($97,930) is then subtracted from those expenditures to get the base number that the three jurisdictions split up. For this year’s interlocal agreement that number is $893,723 – $97,930 = $795,792.

The cost is allocated based on the number of arriving animals that originate from each jurisdiction. Bloomington’s share includes animals from outside the county. Counties besides Monroe that contribute to Bloomington’s shelter population include Owen, Greene, Lawrence, Brown, and Morgan counties, among others.

Of the 3,591 animals that arrived at the shelter in 2018, 1,511 were from Monroe County outside the city and 88 were from Ellettsville. That works out to 44.52 percent of the total. Applied to the base figure to be split ($795,792), that works out to a total of $354,350.

But the total figure specified in the interlocal agreement to be paid to Bloomington is $350,148.63. That’s the number that results from rounding down the 44.52 percent to 44 percent.

Ellettsville’s portion of the payment looks like it’s calculated by this arithmetic:

88/(1,511 + 88)* $350,148.63 = $19,270.22

The arithmetic for Monroe County’s portion is similar:

1,511/(1,511 + 88)* $350,148.63 = $330,878.41

It was Monroe County that benefited more from rounding down to a whole number. To see this, the payments can be checked against the relative contribution of animals:

Ellettsville: $19,270.22 is 2.42 percent of the cost compared to 2.45 percent of the animals.

Monroe County: $330,878.41 is 41.58 percent of the cost compared to 42.07 percent of the animals.

The interlocal agreement was approved by the Ellettsville town council and Monroe County’s board of commissioners in December last year.

The number of arrivals at the animal shelter shows a slightly downward trend over the last eight years. The relative percentages between Bloomington and the other jurisdictions have been pretty stable, ranging between 43 and 49 percent.

Here’s the picture that emerges from data in council information packets for the last eight years:

Bar Chart Stats for Bloomington Animal Shelter Interlocal

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