Whether it is the right move for Pell City to withhold funds from the Animal Shelter of Pell City, Inc., in the absence of a response to the city’s requests for transparency, this newspaper cannot say.

What we can say with some confidence, however, is this: Transparency is not too much to ask.

Not too much to ask from an organization that receives more than two-thirds of its budget from public funds, nor from one that contracts with many of the county’s municipalities and the St. Clair County Commission.

With each passing day, the refusal of the ASPCI to comply with the requests — not just from Pell City, but from all its contracted municipalities — for an audit, open meetings and standard operating procedures becomes more and more curious. The taxpayers who are contributing money to their cities’ coffers have a right to demand what those cities are doing with that money … which leads them straight to the animal shelter’s doorstep.

As citizens, we must demand accountability for every cent that is spent in the public’s name. We do not think that is too much to ask.