In a four to two vote the county council approved building the animal control building which has been under discussion for several years and heavily debated since the new council took office. The county currently leases space from local veterinarian Marion Lott for $1,300 per month. The council has been debating whether to replace this lease with a facility built by the county for several years. Last year the council took action to request a low cost loan from state funds to construct a facility for animal control. The decision to borrow the money was not heavily debated in the council at the time, but has caused controversy and debate ever since new councilmembers took office in January. The initial decision was for a loan of $600,000 to fund a building that could include expansion to manage the overcrowding in the county building. Later, due to cost estimates, the council scoped down the building. At present the plan is for animal control and garage space for county vehicles, but the council is still considering some additional options.
In the first part of this year it looked like there might not be sufficient support on the council to construct this new building, but the process has moved forward steadily. The council initially funded the process to bid the building, then hired an architect, and in the last council meeting awarded the construction contract. There have been various votes of dissent on the project at each stage, however, Member Mecham is the only councilmember to consistently vote against each phase of the project.
Only members Mecham and Kippen voted against awarding the contract to construct the building. Member Mecham continued to state that it was not the right time to build this building and asked questions about how the county intended to make the payments on the bond given the tight county budget. Member Kippen added that she had received significant feedback from voters in her district opposing the project and she felt that she should vote against the project based on this feedback.
The bid to construct the facility was awarded to RW design. Their bed was for $414,770. The council plans to discuss the building further at a work meeting to determine any options that will be added.