City to consider shelter group request

Published 10:40 pm Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Pike Animal Shelter came before the Troy City Council Tuesday formally asking for a financial commitment, something that’s been in discussion since last year.

The price tag would come at around $81,700 per year for the city, about $77,000 more than it spends on the operation of its current shelter.

But, those behind the project say the city will get in return much more than its money’s worth.

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“It gives the city something new — a modern, professional, visible and accessible, easily-maintained animal shelter,” said Donna Schubert, chair of the shelter’s founders society.

Schubert said the group, which has been officially an organization for around three years, only lacks a long-term city commitment before construction on a shelter begins.

The group’s progress includes around $100,000 in savings, solely from fundraising, two-acres of land donated on Henderson Highway and what Schubert calls “tremendous” community support.

The building designs were submitted to the council Tuesday by architect Chuck Jones.

The plans may be tweaked some, Schubert said, but for the most part are pretty set in stone. They include kennels for dogs and cats, a separate area for medical care and cleaning, outdoor play areas for sheltered dogs and a dog park for the community to bring their pets.

With the building she said would come one and a half new jobs, something the city of Troy’s funds would go toward if they receive that commitment.

“It allows the police department, who has two animal control officers that have to go do feeding and cleaning, to be freed up to allow them to do regular law enforcement duties instead of doing shelter maintenance,” she said.

Schubert said the facility would also be opened to the community during business hours, rather than individuals having to make appointments with animal control officers to visit the current facility.

“It’s pretty obvious when you start adding those things up, it cost more than $80,000 per year,” Schubert said.

The partnership idea was not one that this shelter group created. Schubert said it’s modeled after other communities who have implemented these facilities successfully in their home cities.

“Together you can do so much more, and the mission here is to serve this community,” she said. “This is a gap in what our city does now. We have phenomenal bond ratings and other things, strong industry, education, and this is not different from that. It’s another piece of the puzzle in what makes a good community a great community.”

Schubert said the some $81,000 will be used not just to fund day to day operations but to pay on a grant/loan the shelter hopes to acquire.

That collectively would be around $124,000 in expenses, with current revenues being $42,000. The city would provide the difference to balance the budget if the council approves.

Schubert said she anticipates the amount of funds the shelter has to continue to grow once the shelter is built, and the group will continue its own fundraising efforts continuously.

The city council plans to meet with the shelter group before its next meeting May 11.

Mayor Jimmy Lunsford told the council Tuesday it had been contacted by the Pike County Humane Society saying its members would be making a financial request to the city, as well.