It was over 40 years ago that Bob Dylan famously sang “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”. No, he wasn’t predicting the “Win With Weather” program that currently plagues our local television stations.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of players in this city that are so out of touch they do need a “weatherman”. The Mayor is certainly one of those fine folks, as are his buddies that appeared to be blindsided by the nearly two to one margin in the rec center vote. Superintendent Pam Homan is another, as she demonstrated a few weeks ago with an ill-timed proposal to hold meetings behind closed doors.
We can now add the Humane Society to the list of people or organizations that lack the ability to judge the trends or mindsets of the people of Hudsonland. Don’t get me wrong; I’m a fan of the fine folks at the Humane Society, as my dog Sam was saved from a death sentence almost ten years ago. (On second thought, maybe I’m not such a big fan.)
A couple of weeks ago the new executive director paid a visit to City Hall and asked for almost a quarter million dollars for this year’s budget. That’s over double of the amount the Council had already voted to give these fine folks, which was $16,000 more than last year.
Let’s make it clear once again that I’m not against the work of this fine group of people, and I’m not against giving these people the resources necessary to keep their doors open. But doubling their budget is out of the question, especially at this point of time. Besides the financial problems Mayor Munson has faced in the past few months, we have a lot of obligations that could potentially max out our budget for the next few years.
Most important are the improvements to our infrastructure – the sewer system, the roads, our portion of the Lewis and Clark water project, etc. We’re also in the process of revamping the Great Plains Zoo. Add to that whatever progress is done to Falls Park and the rest of downtown, with or without an event center.
With all this in mind, it would seem obvious to almost anybody that at this point of time it would be political suicide to request the city to double the funding for any project or organization. Nobody besides De Knudson could possibly believe it’s a great idea, particularly when we also provide the group with twenty acres of land for the sum total of one buck a year.
Plus, from what I’ve heard from various sources, there is also a bit of dissension within the ranks in the future direction of the Humane Society. At least one prominent member has left in the past year because of differences of opinion over the best method to reduce the number of strays. Some feel that aggressive spay-neuter plans are most cost-effective than the current method of capturing and destroying unwanted animals.
However that debate plays out, the Humane Society, or any organization that receives funding from the city, must have reasonable budget demands. I’m not one of those people that is against any increase in funding to anybody, but all groups must realize that the court of public opinion supersedes the handful of friendly faces in City Hall whose seem open to hand out our money to anybody and everybody.