City seek­ing progress on an­i­mal shel­ter

Bids being re­opened for project to build new fa­cil­ity that meets state stan­dards.

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - By Ni­cole Bar­rios ni­cole.bar­rios@ac­n­news­pa­pers.com

After a failed bond in Novem­ber 2015 and plans for a ren­o­va­tion were ap­proved in May 2016, the Pflugerville An­i­mal Shel­ter has yet to turn dirt on im­prove­ments that would in­crease space and bring a build­ing up to state stan­dards.

The project to im­prove the city’s an­i­mal shel­ter has faced hur­dles since the coun­cil in­cluded it in a Novem­ber 2015 bond elec­tion. That bond propo­si­tion failed and city staff went back to the draw­ing board to come up with new plans.

In May 2016, the City Coun­cil ap­proved the first phase of im­prov­ing the an­i­mal shel­ter, which called for de­mol­ish­ing some struc­tures, in­clud­ing an an­i­mal in­take build­ing that is not meet­ing state health codes and build­ing a new in­take build­ing.

Shel­ter di­rec­tor Rhonda McLen­don said state health of­fi­cials are al­low­ing the cur­rent in­take build­ing to re­main open as the city works to­ward build­ing a new one. City spokes­woman Terri Toledo said the in­take build­ing’s cages and amount of natural light­ing did not meet state stan­dards.

The state re­viewed and ap­proved plans for the new in­take build­ing, and is al­low­ing the shel­ter to use the cur­rent build­ing to hold strays dogs up to five days, she said.

McLen­don said shel­ter staff in­her­ited the cur­rent fa­cil­ity, which orig­i­nally was used by other city de­part­ments. “This (new build­ing) will be the first build­ing that’s de­signed as a shel­ter,” she said.

The city bud­geted $2 mil­lion for the project, with $1.6 mil­lion of fund­ing com­ing through cer­tifi­cates of obli­ga­tion and $400,000 through city fund re­serves.

As­sis­tant City Man­ager Trey Fletcher said con­struc­tion for the project is es­ti­mated to cost $1.7 mil­lion.

This spring, the city re­ceived only one bid for the project, which Fletcher said was over bud­get at about $2.2 mil­lion. Coun­cil mem­bers in May re­jected the bid.

City of­fi­cials now plan to re­open bid­ding in the next 30 days with what Fletcher called a scaled-down ver­sion of the project. Land­scap­ing, build­ing ma­te­ri­als and other in­fra­struc­ture will be min­i­mized to help cut costs, he said, though he could not say how much costs would be scaled back.

The shel­ter project in­volves de­mol­ish­ing four struc­tures, in­clud­ing lev­el­ing the an­i­mal in­take build­ing and build­ing a new one.

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