Longmont Humane Society makes plea for donations to avoid foreclosure
$772k needed by November for loan payment
By Whitney Bryen Longmont Times-Call
Construction cost overruns from the facility's expansion that began in 2006 and six years of financial deficits have drained the organization's reserves, leaving the humane society unable to make its 2013 and subsequent annual loan payments, executive director Liz Smokowski said.
The nonprofit needs to raise this year's payment within four months or the organization could face foreclosure or be forced to file for bankruptcy as early as December, said Smokowski, who inherited the loan when she was hired at the end of 2011.
In 2006, the town of Lyons, which uses the society's services, issued a bond for $6 million on behalf of the humane society under the state's Municipalities Development Revenue Bond Act to allow the society to begin construction. Wells Fargo now holds the loan.
In 2005, philanthropist Susan Allen of New York had promised the humane society $5 million for the expansion of its facility. That gift came over five years in $1 million increments.
The organization's financial problems are due to construction costs for the right away on its expansion. The organization's financial problems are due to construction costs for the 43,000-square-foot expansion and annual deficits from 2006 to 2011 exceeding $1.6 million. The cost of the expansion was forecast to be about $8.2 million but came in at $9 million by the time it opened in January 2009, Smokowski said.
Donations decreased starting in 2007 following the economic downturn, and operating costs increased once the expansion was completed due to higher utility costs and expenses associated with the care of more animals.
Currently loan-holder Wells Fargo has refused to renegotiate the loan. More than a dozen other banks have refused the organization's request to take over the loan, mostly due to the deficits, Smokowski said.
Shortly after Smokowski's arrival, the humane society hired an auditor to go over financial statements from 2003, which revealed six consecutive years of deficits.
The nonprofit has launched a fundraising campaign, The Longmont Humane Society: Serving the Community Now and Forever, focused on large gifts to achieve the organization's immediate and long-term goals, which include paying off the remaining $3.1 million on the loan by the fall of 2014.
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To donate checks should be made out to the Longmont Humane Society with "now and forever" written in the memo line and mailed to:
The Longmont Humane Society
9595 Nelson Road
Longmont, CO 80501
Contact: Liz Smokowski at 303-772-1232, ext. 225, or email@example.com or Shelley McLeod at 720-864-2878 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Whitney Bryen can be reached at 303-684-5274 or email@example.com.