It's encouraging that East Manchester Township recently decided to compensate the York County SPCA for services previously provided in 2012. Hopefully, the township will soon do the right thing for 2013 and beyond as well.
Yet the township has indicated it prefers to continue "negotiations" with the SPCA. Chairman Steve Gross has taken exception to the methodology the SPCA uses to determine its fee and has compared it instead to a per capita "tax." It's only natural the SPCA would base its fee on the number of residents, since more residents correspond to a greater demand for its services.
The SPCA's fee is already discounted approximately 85 percent from its internal costs. So what does Mr. Gross expect the SPCA to negotiate when the fee is already so heavily subsidized by the organization as it is? Squeeze them further and the SPCA's already delicate financial condition would be put at even greater risk.
It seems Mr. Gross's version of "negotiation" is that it's his way or else, which is not a reasonable approach. Township residents certainly can't negotiate their own sewer or water bills, and for very good reason. If the township made a special exception for one resident, it would then have to negotiate with every resident, which is extremely inefficient. The same is true with the SPCA. Their fee arrangement with the township is the same arrangement that every other major municipality throughout York County abides by.
One municipality cannot be treated differently than any other, since it would not be prudent for the SPCA to negotiate dozens of individual municipal contracts when its current fee methodology is already such a bargain compared to what other humane organizations are charging for similar services.
Mr. Gross should certainly understand that.
Township residents need a permanent solution and a credible plan. The most cost-efficient and viable alternative is right in front of them -- continue to contract with the SPCA.
East Manchester Twp.