UPDATED: County Waives Water and Sewer Allocation Fees to Help Kent Humane Society With New Facility

In a 2-1 vote Tuesday the Kent County Commissioners waived $130,000 in water and sewer allocation fees for the Humane Society of Kent County — to ease the cost of construction of their new $5.2 million facility. 

Kent Humane Society Executive Director Richard Keaveney said they’ve raised $3.8 million so far for construction and that they are actively trying to raise an additional $1 million for “operational costs.” 

“So I am asking for the county to make our burden lighter,” Keaveney said. 

He said without the COVID-19 pandemic he would have asked the county for about $250,000 towards their capital campaign, but instead he’s seeking a waiver of the water and sewer allocation.

In his “no” vote, Commissioner President Tom Mason voiced concern that waiving the fee would open the door for more waiver requests from nonprofits, but Commissioner Bob Jacob responded that the Humane Society was not just another nonprofit but an organization that provides services to the county.

The organization provides animal control services to the county, which the county pays for in annual contributions approaching $300,000.

“Our relationship with the humane society is much different than the relationship with other nonprofits,” he said. “Someone needs to explain to me how we have to pay the allocation fees to ourselves, isn’t that the same as waiving” the fee?

Commissioner Ron Fithian said the county legally has to provide for animal control and a “humane society of some type.”

“We are committed to doing that whether we have our own department or we look to them as doing the job for us, which is why we have contributed over the years,” he said. “So I’m not worried about the next [nonprofit] coming along because they’re not [providing] a function for us.”

Fithian also said the Humane Society will likely pay about $40,000 annually in water and sewer fees. At that rate the county will recoup the allocation fees in three years, he said.

3 comments

  1. The Kent County Humane Society is a fine organization that my wife and I have contributed to many times over the years, as well as adopting several furry friends. I’m glad to see them getting a break and look forward to seeing their new facility!

  2. “So I’m not worried about the next nonprofit coming along because they’re not [providing] a function for us.”

    Really? From mental health and addiction services to environmental and arts education, from homeless shelters and affordable housing to over allquality of life services, the Nonprofit community of Kent County serves the people of Kent in ways our current commissioners will never understand. This is a wildly uninformed comment form our longest serving commissioner. Very sad.

  3. While I agree that the Humane Society provides an important service to the Kent County community, it is a gross mis-representation to say that they are the ONLY not-for-profit that fills a gap not covered by the County budget. As the recently retired Chairperson of the Good Neighbor Fund, who worked closely with the Salvation Army and the Samaritan Group (organizers of the Winter Shelter that provides food and a warm place for up to 15 people to sleep every night from January to March), I can guarantee you that Kent County — and Chestertown in particular — would be overwhelmed with homeless people sleeping on the streets wit out these three groups — and others — working cooperatively with the Department of Social Services. And this is not where the services end. We also help people with their utility bills, their medical bills, unexpected funeral services (as when a 25 year old dies in a car accident). And then there are the several food banks in the County that step in when the Commissioners — understandably — say, “We can’t add that to the County budget.” Thank you everyone for pitching in year round — not just during the November and December Holidays.

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