MCPHERSON — The McPherson County Humane Society is a nonprofit supported almost entirely by donations. The humane society provides food and shelter to lost and unwanted cats until a permanent home can be found, but this year more funds are needed in the operating budget.
Located in a converted church building, the shelter is home to 50-80 cats and kittens at various times throughout the year.
This year, two members of the operational board are stepping down. In preparation for that, the organization hired an executive director. That blew a hole in the operating budget.
"We are showing a $49,000 loss with the hiring of the director," said Becka Locke, who handles the accounting for the organization.
She believes the center needs to come with about $42,000 in funding, and along with other financial advisers, has a plan.
That plan is designed to do two things — increase funding from local governments, and to fix an issue the society sees in one of those funding streams.
Specifically, they say there needs to be a fix in the Fix-A-Cat program, which started in 2009 with funding from the city.
"Those funds go towards spay and neuter surgeries for cats in the community — both individuals who come to the society to get a voucher to have a cat fixed and cats that come through the shelter. We also use the funds for trapping programs," said Mary Steffes, board member for the humane society.
The program, along with a focus on adopting more cats out into the community, has helped with the cat population in the shelter.
There is also a program to trap feral cats, when people are available to set traps, and fix those cats as well.
Between October 2019 and September 2020, 196 cats came into the shelter — 54% from the city, 30% from the county, 11% from other locations and 6% had no records.
However, all the funding for the program comes from the city of McPherson, which shelter representatives believe needs to change.
"We feel like it is time for the county to step up and do their share. Right now the financial burden is really on the city," Steffes said.
The shelter will be asking for roughly $24,000 from the city, and $15,000 from the county. When computing how much the shelter would ask for from each entity, the percentage of cats taken in from each entity was used. Currently the shelter receives $12,000 from the Fix-A-Cat program from the city.
"Of the additional funding, 13,500 would be for fix a cat, 28,500 for director’s salary," Locke said. "If we do not receive funding we will have to close our doors in 12 years. We do have (440,000) in an investment account ... we are trying to be proactive. Even if we receive all the funding we are requesting we will have an annual loss of $19,000. It is our hope to use the interest from the investment account to keep things going."
City commissioners asked to have the new appropriations request placed on the agenda for a Nov. 5 discussion.