MOUNT Gambier City Council has thrown the region’s charity animal welfare league a financial lifeline amid ongoing concerns the organisation will fold.
Councillors voted on Tuesday night to allocate a $60,000 conditional grant to the South East Animal Welfare League in front of a packed council chamber, which included around 30 league volunteers and supporters.
The one-off grant will be issued in four equal installments to support the animal shelter’s operational costs, with a number of key performance indicators attached to the funding.
League president Trevor Twilley said the organisation was pleased with the final decision despite the frustration felt during discussion between elected members.
“City Council has now declared it will increase its contribution but it does not help the league moving forward long-term,” Mr Twilley said.
“Redevelopment has now been put on the back-burner and it was mentioned we have money put away for that, well we cannot spend that money which was donated for our operational costs.”
During council debate, deputy mayor Sonya Mezinec highlighted a decrease in animal impounds as reported in a council committee document, a statement Mr Twilley refuted.
“We here at the league had a 29pc increase in dog impounds brought to us in 2018,” Mr Twilley said.
“In March this year alone we had 12 dogs from the Mount Gambier City Council.”
According to Mr Twilley, uncertainty over the league’s future has put immense pressure on volunteers and staff, with only 1.6 full time equivalent staff and 35 volunteers running the organisation.
“I did run a previous survey with the staff and volunteers in regards to SEAWL’s future,” Mr Twilley said.
“The survey showed that 82pc of those within our organisation stated they would not volunteer for a council-run animal welfare.”
Still planning on working with both City Council and Grant District Council to secure a tri-party agreement, Mr Twilley said no guarantee of future funding could “put the future of the league in jeopardy”.
Council will meet with the league to discuss key performance indicators in the coming weeks as both organisations look to work closely towards a solution.
Grant District Council is yet to make a decision on its future funding to the league with the current agreement expiring in June.
The league will present to the council on May 6