Sunday, Apr 22, 2018
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Konop calls for outside audit of dog warden's office

A Lucas County commissioner is calling for an outside audit of the county's dog warden department, stating he lacks confidence in budgetary figures put forward by county personnel.

In a statement Thursday, Commissioner Ben Konop said he was alarmed over the revelation last week that the dog warden's dog-and-kennel fund has almost $900,000 in surplus funds. He said new figures put out this week by the commissioners' Chief of Staff Bridgette Kabat — that show projections on how the warden's funds could fare under future spending scenarios — are flawed.

"This document lacks credibility, thoroughness, and transparency. I find this attempt at financial management to be an analytically flawed and politically motivated maneuver by politicians covering their past mismanagement," Mr. Konop said. "In essence the document states that a million dollar surplus is really a budget deficit. Only in county government could such a conclusion be reached."

The document in question estimates revenue and expenses for the Lucas County Dog Warden's office up until the end of the year. It also provides estimates on the cost of various improvements to the dog pound, which have been suggested by Julie Lyle, the county dog warden. Those improvements include creating an on-site surgical suite at the kennels, creating a special adoption area, buying new cages, and updating the pound's computer system.

According to the document, if all changes are implemented, the dog and kennel fund will be left with a surplus of $5,492 by January, 2013.

The document was requested by county Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak, who said she wanted it to serve as a guide post for debates over how to spend the recently uncovered surplus funds. She said the document shows rough estimates and is not set in stone.

A citizen's panel that provides recommendations for improvements at the pound is meeting next week to discuss ways to spend the money.

"I wanted to have people have the opportunity to look at true costs and also look at the wish list" of what they want to accomplish at the pound, Ms. Wozniak said. "You want the best practices for animal care, but you have to know what they cost."

Ms. Kabat, who put the projection figures together, defended the numbers and said they are as accurate as possible given the information the county has at this time. She said the projections of future balances are based on informal estimates obtained by county officials on how much improvements at the pound would cost.

Lucas County Administrator Peter Ujvagi also stood by the projections and said he could not comment on Mr. Konop's call for an audit.

"We've provided him with the information that we believe to be accurate and based on the analysis that we've done," Mr. Ujvagi said, emphasizing that the calculations were projections only. "We're confident in those numbers."

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