Longmont Humane Society needs $250,000 for annual mortgage by the end of the month

Long term future of shelter still up in the air

LONGMONT, Colo. - The Longmont Humane Society needs to raise $250,000 more by the end of the month, to pay the mortgage on their still fairly new state-of-the-art facility.

So far this year, the organization has raised about $520,000 but they need the additional money to stave off bond holders.

"We would love to find major donors out there who are willing to help," said Executive Director Liz Smokowski.

Cost overruns on the still new shelter adjacent to the Boulder County Fairgrounds escalated the total cost from about $6 million dollars to about $9 million.

It was completed in 2008, just as the economy soured.

“It was a very challenging time,” Smokowski told 7NEWS. “There were overruns in costs, and there were personal pledge and donation challenges.”

To make up the difference, Smokowski said the group, that was in charge at the time, went to the bond market and borrowed $6 million to pay for the overruns and what donations, pledges and grants didn't cover.

They've paid off half the bonds so far, but are struggling with the rest.

"We've come to the point where we've drained our reserves," Smokowski said. “We still owe about $3.1 million.

She says this year's bond payment, totaling $772,000, is due on Nov. 30.

When asked what happens if they can’t make that payment, Smokowski replied, "We are optimistic that we will, however we wouldn't be honest if we didn't at least consider that possibility," she said. “We have been in discussion with some of the bond holders looking at opportunities to restructure the remaining amount.

When asked if there was a danger that the shelter would have to shut down, she said, “I think we’re beyond that danger for this year, and that we will work throughout the next year to raise that $772,000 again.”

Smokowski says they've cut staff by 30 percent, restructured programs and shifted reliance onto volunteers, like Persia Houston.

Houston told 7NEWS that it’s stressful not knowing what the future holds.

“We’re trying not to let it filter down to the most important ones here, the pets,” Houston said.

In addition to dogs and cats, the humane society is sheltering rabbits, other small mammals and birds.

Smokowski said that operationally, with the staff and program cuts, the Longmont Humane Society is showing a positive cash flow.  She said she’s hopeful that when they go back to the banks that will be a strike in their favor as they seek to restructure the remaining debt.

Residents who would like to help can do so online at: www.longmonthumane.org.  Click on Donate Now, the Now and Forever Campaign.






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